Writers Guild Of America, East and ABC Reach Contract Agreement For Newswriters

Writers Guild East and ABC have reached

tentative agreement on a new contract for the WGAE-ABC news employees who have

been working under an expired contract since January 31, 2005.

The agreement,

which was accepted by the WGAE-ABC Negotiating Committee, will be put to a membership

vote for ratification December 13, 2007 at meetings in New

York and Washington,

D.C. The contract covers

approximately 250 newswriters, editors, desk assistants, production assistants,

graphic artists and researchers in New York

and Washington, D.C.

Under the terms of the agreement, WGAE-ABC employees will

receive raises of 3.5% annually plus a $3,700 contract bonus for full-time

employees and a pro-rated bonus for those working per diem schedules or for

lesser periods of time. The new contract will be effective upon ratification

and will expire February 1, 2010.

"We're pleased to secure, finally, a fair contract for our members. More

importantly, this contract covers all our WGAE-ABC news members and allows all

of them, including the writer/producers at WABC-TV, to remain in the Guild and

continue to enjoy the benefits and protections of the union," said Mona Mangan,

executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East. "We expect the

membership to ratify this contract, and we can now continue our work of delivering

quality news to the public."

"At a time when accurate, quality

journalism is so vital to a working democracy, we are pleased that this new

contract with ABC News will allow our members there to continue providing their

skills and knowledge, delivering to the American public the information they

need," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.

In reaching this agreement, the WGAE and ABC agreed to lower night

shift differential by one hour in the second year of the contract, increase

acting editor fees and establish a new fee for production assistants, diminish

payment for a missed lunch period in network radio, and decrease payment for

ops room work in network radio while grandfathering current employees.