Following a ten (10) week recess, negotiations for a successor to the Master Agreement resumed last week in New York City. The parties met on Wednesday, September 5th and Thursday, September 6th.
Negotiators for NABET-CWA and NBCU spent Wednesday discussing a variety of sports related matters, including issues specifically related to the NBC Sports NASCAR crew. On Thursday, the parties conducted a thorough walkthrough of all open items, as well as a review of language previously agreed to by the parties in earlier rounds of these negotiations. Also on Thursday, the Union gave NBC a comprehensive response to a package presented by the Company when the parties were last in session in June. NABET-CWA negotiators were optimistic that the response package would bring the parties very close to an overall settlement of the contract. However, Company negotiators strongly criticized the counterproposal and told Union negotiators that they saw no point in meeting on Friday, which was a previously scheduled day of talks.
At this point in the process, resolving all open economic issues is central to reaching an overall tentative agreement – one which the membership can properly consider for a ratification vote.
To date, the Company’s stingy economic stance is untenable, given the financial windfall NBCU received when Congress drastically reduced the corporate tax rate. The Company continues to offer miserly wage increases which amount to less than a suitable cost-of-living increase. Additionally, the Company has repeatedly and emphatically stated that employees who have an overscale arrangement with NBCU, or who work under the terms of a personal services agreement, will not automatically qualify for annual wage increases, unless the increase is individually and specifically negotiated. The Union’s approach in these areas is quite opposite.
Additionally, the Company continues to propose a significant decrease in night shift differential premiums, and despite the Union’s attempt to increase ‘travel only’ in a meaningful way, the Company’s offer in this area is meager and does not address the demands of the daily hires who travel as part of their job assignment for NBCUniversal.
The Company’s economic offerings reflect a lack of recognition for the countless contributions made by you, the employee, towards the great successes enjoyed by NBCUniversal and the parent company, Comcast. In fact, given that the parties are nine (9) months into these negotiations, and the Company’s stance on economics remains rooted where it is, one can only characterize the Company’s economic approach as unacceptably disrespectful.
During some spirited exchanges, Union negotiators cautioned Company representatives that a package of proposals in this shape and form would not receive the endorsement of the bargaining committee, and was not likely to be ratified by the membership.
The parties are exploring additional dates for further negotiations in late October.
Your bargaining committee will continue communicating with the membership as developments warrant. In the meantime unity and solidarity are critically important. Be alert for communications from your Local regarding mobilization activities, and be prepared to engage and participate as necessary.
Bulletins and other official information concerning these negotiations will be distributed by the NABET-CWA Sector and Locals as necessary.
NABET-CWA Network Negotiating Committee