June 19, 2012 ABC Negotiations Update Letter
Jun 19, 2012
To: All NABET-CWA Members Employed by Disney/ABC
The NABET-CWA Network Negotiating Committee would like to update you on the status of negotiations, especially in light of recent developments, and apparent misinformation from ABC managers concerning these contract talks.
As you know from Negotiations Bulletin #29 that we sent to the membership, NABET-CWA and Disney/ABC held bargaining sessions in Los Angeles during April. These scheduled talks were the most recent chapter in these negotiations which began nearly sixteen months ago.
It has now been over seven weeks since the Union and the Company last met in Los Angeles. While the parties met in “off-the-record” sessions, we would like to point out that when we concluded that round of bargaining, on April 27, 2012, ABC indicated that it would be proposing additional meeting dates as soon as they could determine their committee’s availability. Yesterday, fifty-four days after our last meeting, the Union has finally received word from the Company concerning meeting scheduling, and the dates they have proposed are eighty-nine days out from when we last met.
While ABC wasted no time in mailing and hand delivering their May 1, 2012 self-serving letter to you concerning these negotiations, they have now wasted months instead of doing the real work of negotiations, meeting at the bargaining table to resolve our open issues.
With respect to some of those open issues and misinformation provided by the Company in their May 1, 2012 letter, let us briefly point out the following:
- ABC management continues to compare these negotiations with those which were recently concluded at NBC, but only by cherry picking. For example, while ABC states that even with the Company’s proposed wage increase, wages here will be higher than those at NBC in general, our Committee, with your input, believes that the percentage increases the Union is proposing are appropriate in these negotiations, and that the percentage increases are in line with the percentage increases we proposed and achieved at NBC.
- While ABC mentioned their proposal for increasing the Daily Hire Payment In Lieu of Benefits is better than the current NBC contract, the NBC contract provides short turnaround pay, schedule change penalties, and continuous tour pay for many Daily Hires. Also ABC fails to point out that the Company is unwilling to offer conversions to staff employment for regular Daily Hires, whereas NBC has agreed to make one hundred offers of conversion of regular Daily Hires to staff employment during the next three years.
- ABC Management states to staff employees that, “Until there is a new Master Agreement, anyone who retires will likely receive a substantially lower pension.” Other than trying to hold these negotiations hostage to achieve other concessions from you, there is nothing preventing the Company now, nor at anytime since March of 2011, from agreeing to immediately enact any of the pension benefit increases which the Pension Plan’s own actuary has concluded are appropriate.
- On the ENG/EFP Protections/Digital Video Cameras issue, it is true that the Union has stated in previous Bulletins that ABC needs to provide our members with “tangible, measurable replacement work”. Your Union Bargaining Committee is resolute in not promoting a one way race that only results in attrition. Our job is to not only to protect the jobs that you have now, but to find new work for current and future members. While we have reached agreement with ABC on various new productions, we have also proposed numerous ideas in these negotiations to address the concerns of those working in ENG and EFP. To date, ABC has been unwilling to agree to any Union proposal which would fully close out this open issue.
Nonetheless, in an effort to keep the process moving forward, the Network Negotiating Committee has informed the Company today that we are available to meet nearly two weeks earlier than ABC is currently proposing, as well on other additional dates in August. As we have stated in previous letters to you, our goal is to achieve the best successor agreement we can, one that we can recommend, and one that you will be able to ratify. We hope that whenever we meet with the Company that those meetings are productive and do not result in another lengthy delay in reaching a new Master Agreement at ABC. We look forward to the Company’s response.