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NABET-CWA Negotiators Seeks Strike Authority

Union NABET-CWA, which walked away from talks with ABC last month calling the network's latest proposal akin to a declaration of war, has now sought authority to strike.

In this case the strike would be a work stoppage by desk assistants in New York, news writers and producers in San Francisco, and news writers in Chicago and L.A.

According to a bulletin to members, the union's network negotiating committee has voted unanimously to seek strike authorization from the rank and file. If a majority of members agree--a secret ballot is being conducted starting April 23--the committee could call a strike at any time.

New talks have been scheduled to resume May 21 in Chicago. With the ballots being counted May 14, the committee would be armed with strike authority going into those talks if the members agree.

Key to the stand-off is ABC's desire to modify the seniority system to allow it to keep less senior people with the skills it needs. That is a nonstarter for the union, but the union has also cited what it said were "attacks on the pension, attacks on jurisdiction, attacks on the paid meal period, and attacks on a multitude of other work rules and conditions."

"It doesn't matter to us one way of the other, "said ABC spokeswoman Julie Hoover of the union's calling for a strike vote.