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NABET-CWA, ABC Talks Break Down

NABET-CWA said Friday that contract talks had ended with ABC, with no new talks scheduled. The union said ABC misrepresentations wiped out progress made in the first two days of talks, while ABC countered that  a deal was in sight but disappeared due to the union's unwillingness to recommend it to the rank and file.

The two parties are in the midst of lengthy and contentious negotiations over a new contract for 1,100 engineers, news writers, publicists, desk assistants, plant-maintenance workers and traffic coordinators.

In a bulletin to its members, NABET-CWA said Friday that two days of talks had produced two days of apparent progress, only to see that evaporate Friday after what it called a "bizarre turn of events" in which ABC negotiators "misrepresented" aspects of the discussions, although it did not say what they were.

"The result of these misrepresentations is that the apparent progress has evaporated, and the company has indicated that it will revert to its Oct. 22, 2007, package proposal," the union said. "No future meetings with ABC are planned at this time."

Not surprisingly, ABC saw it differently. "NABET leadership is misrepresenting the facts of what occurred over the last few days," the network said in a statement e-mailed to B&C late Friday. "While the talks were off the record, we must correct the allegations made by NABET."

The network continued, "The union said progress was apparent. It was more than apparent -- we reached an agreement with the small committee (which included the president of NABET/CWA). Sadly, that agreement began to evaporate when the small committee brought it to the large committee. They refused to recommend the deal to their membership."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.