NABET/CWA, ABC Resume Talks

Writers Guild of America Responds to Democratic National Committee’s Cancellation of Presidential Debate

The Writers Guild of America wasn't the only union that returned to the bargaining table this week.

According to a bulletin from NABET/CWA, negotiations resumed in New York Wednesday on its lengthy and contentious negotiations over a new contract for 1,100 engineers, news writers, publicists, desk assistants, plant-maintenance workers and traffic coordinators.

The daylong session ended in the early evening, when the two sides broke to caucus over the day’s events. "The lines of communications between the parties [remain] open," the union said, and an ABC spokesperson agreed.

ABC last month presented what it said was its final offer for a new contract, amid some contentious cross-talk about an Oct. 19 meeting the union did not attend. The network sweetened the deal with raises that only apply if the contract is approved by Nov. 30.

The elephant in the room remains changes to the seniority system that ABC said are key to remaining competitive and that the unions fear are a key to replacing senior workers with lower-paid, more junior ones.

The four-year contract expired March 31. The two sides started talking in mid-February but the talks broke off in late March, resuming in May and continuing on and off.

In yet more union news, the WGA responded to the news that the Democratic National Committee canceled a debate because of its strike against producers and a potential separate strike by news writers against CBS.

“The Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West regret that the Democratic National Committee has had to cancel the Dec. 10 presidential debate hosted by CBS," the unions said in a statement.

For full coverage of the strike, click here.