WGAE Wins Complaint Against CBS for Unfair Labor Practices

NLRB LogoThe General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)

yesterday issued a complaint against CBS Broadcasting, Inc. based upon

two separate unfair labor practice charges filed by the Writers Guild

of America, East (WGAE). The complaint alleges that: CBS (1) unlawfully

threatened a WGA-CBS News employee with termination for engaging in

protected union activities, and (2) restricted the WGAE's

representatives right of access to CBS facilities. The allegations of

the complaint will be heard before an Administrative Law Judge of the

NLRB at a hearing scheduled for July 25, 2007.

"We hope the NLRB action will open CBS's

eye to the need to treat writers fairly, and that the company will take

that lesson to the bargaining table."

—  Kathy Kiernan, CBS newswriter

This formal

issuance of a complaint in support of the Writers Guild of America,

East and West against CBS Broadcasting follows an NLRB investigation

into the WGAE's charges during the period February through May of this

year. During the investigation prior to the issuance of the complaint,

the NLRB afforded CBS an opportunity to present evidence concerning the

union's charges. CBS has a June 13th deadline to answer the complaint

allegations.

"We're pleased the National Labor Relations Board

supports our position that CBS has been illegally threatening our

members for engaging in protected union activity and limiting our

access to our membership. The NLRB today demonstrated its support by

formally charging CBS with these labor violations," says Chris Albers,

president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

"Our members have been

working in good faith without a contract for 30 months. Instead of

giving our members a fair and respectful contract, CBS has sought to

limit our ability to access and support our membership as a way to

force them to accept the inferior contract that they already rejected

last November. Our members demand that CBS return to the bargaining

table with an offer of a fair and respectful contract."

"It is

outrageous that writers would be denied on-site access to

representatives of their union. We hope the NLRB action will open CBS's

eye to the need to treat writers fairly, and that the company will take

that lesson to the bargaining table," commented Kathy Kiernan, WGAW

board member and CBS newswriter.

The NLRB's issuance of the

formal complaint against CBS is the latest action in the stalled

contract negotiations between the WGA and CBS. During the past few

weeks, workers at network radio in New York and WBBM-TV in Chicago

chose to engage in work stoppages, protesting the unfair labor

practices committed by CBS and demonstrating their willingness to stand

up for their rights and the rights of all WGA-CBS employees.

Other

recent actions include WGA-CBS employees marching on the offices of

Sean McManus, CBS News and Sports President, and Linda Mason, CBS News

Senior Vice President, Standards & Special Practices, on April 2nd

to deliver a member-signed petition demanding an apology from CBS for

the actions of its general manager of network radio in New York who

illegally threatened a WGA-CBS shop steward with termination and also

threatened several other union members because of their union

activities (the basis for one of the union's ULP charges against CBS).

The right of employees to engage in collective union activities is

protected under the National Labor Relations Act. These member actions,

as well as increased in-shop activities, spurred CBS to limit the

Guild's access to CBS, in violation of the NLRA (the basis for filing

the second of the union's ULP charges against CBS).

In November

2006, the WGA-CBS membership voted by an overwhelming 99% to reject

CBS's latest contract offer. The two sides met again on January 8,

2007, but CBS refused to put forth any new proposals, sticking to its

final offer that was overwhelmingly rejected by the membership in the

November vote. CBS has refused to schedule further negotiation sessions

and continues to demand that the membership accept the previously

rejected offer.

The WGA-CBS national agreement covers

newswriters, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic

artists, promotion writers, and researchers in New York, Washington,

D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles working in television and radio on the

national and local levels. There are more than 500 WGA-CBS employees

covered under this contract, which expired on April 1, 2005.