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WGA, ABC Reach Contract for News Writers

The Writers Guild of America East and ABC have reached tentative agreement on a new contract for the WGAE-ABC news employees in New York and Washington, the union said Thursday.

The contract covers about 250 news writers, editors, desk assistants, production assistants, graphic artists and researchers, who have been working under an expired contract since Jan. 31, 2005.

The new agreement, which was accepted by the WGAE-ABC Negotiating Committee, will be put to a membership vote for ratification Dec. 13 at meetings in New York and Washington.

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 Feb. 1, 2010.

The WGA is also in the midst of negotiating new contracts for TV and film writers, and for CBS News employees. The TV writers have been on strike since Nov. 5, while the CBS News employees have authorized a strike.