CBS News Writers Authorize Strike; CBS Calls Vote “Unfortunate”

By Chris Ariens 

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Breaking: CBS News employees who are members of the WGA-East and the WGA-West voted 81% to authorize a strike against CBS. The vote gives the writers authorization to call a strike at any time.

The WGAE website reports “almost 300 WGA-CBS members voted in the special election,” held last Thursday and Friday in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

“Our members at CBS News consistently have demonstrated their hard work and commitment to quality journalism, but have had their dedication and diligence rebuffed by management’s refusal to negotiate a fair, respectful contract,” said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

Click continued to read the response from CBS…

It is unfortunate that our WGA news writers have voted to authorize a strike. The offer we presented nearly a year ago was fair and reasonable, and remains on the table. It not only includes one of the best medical plans in the country with minimal employee contributions, but fair salary increases to all WGA employees as well. In fact, contrary to what the WGA contends, CBS proposed an annual increase of 3% for television and network radio, and 2% for the radio stations covered by this agreement. The lower percentage increases the WGA continues to cite are based on spreading the increases as if they were retroactive to April 2005; the offer of retroactivity expired after CBS had made numerous attempts over a long period of time to conduct and conclude negotiations. As to the issue of assigning current WGA responsibilities at KNX radio to non-WGA employees, here are the facts: we are simply asking that some writing duties be shared with those from another professional talent union (AFTRA) at a sister station in Los Angeles. This request seems fair given that AFTRA employees had already agreed to it, and that we are offering layoff protection to any worker at KNX affected by the change. We hope there is no strike. Should there be, however, CBS News, CBS Television Stations and CBS Radio remains fully prepared, and ready to continue producing the highest quality news programming for our viewers.