WGA Plans Moonves 'Face-Off'

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The Writers Guild of America East says it will rally outside the annual Viacom shareholders meeting Thursday in New York to protest what it calls regressive demands in ongoing talks with the company over a new contract.

The union represents news writers and promo writers, editors, graphic artists, desk assistants, and researchers in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The old contract expired April 1 and talks broke off April 29 on a new one.

The union has staged various protests including the "Working Harder for Less" protest outside of CBS April 27; one outside the St. Regis Hotel May 5, when Moonves got an award from the Museum of the Moving Image; and one outside of the CBS upfront May 18 across from Carnegie Hall.

The latest will be to don masks of Viacom co-chairman Chairman Les Moonves for a "first-ever Les moonves Face Off." The masks is actually a full-size Moonves head on a stick (There is a New York bylaw against a full mask, apparently a guard against Klansmen, who like to hide under their hoods).

WGA says CBS wants up to 21% in pay cuts, cuts in the number of union jobs, limits on severance, and "draconian cuts" in paid lunch and holidays, among other things.

The network has responded that it "takes great pride in the positive relationships we've developed with the unions that represent our talent and employees. As in any negotiations, we are wrestling with serious issues that will take hard work on both sides to resolve, as we have with other unions and guilds."

Talks are scheduled to resume June 27.

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