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WKBN-TV, Union Settle on New Contract

As of Feb. 14, it’s news business as usual for WKBN-TV Youngstown, Ohio. The station and its news employees covered by NABET-CWA have come to terms on a new three-year contract.

The deal gives the employees a 6% raise over three years–2% the first year, 1% the second and 3% the third. Employees will also have a 20% health care co-pay.

The union had rejected a station offer of a 4% raise over three years and what it considered too large a chunk of healthcare costs. The workers had been locked out since just before the expiration of the contract Feb. 1, but were scheduled to return Saturday.

WKBN-TV general manager David Coy described the negotiations as "civil and professional."

The station news department’s skeleton crew, including managers, producers under a separate contract, and engineers, had still managed to put out newscasts at noon, 5, 6 and 11 p.m., as well as a 10 p.m. news for a pair of low powers operating as Fox affiliates. The only casualty was a morning newscast, scheduled to resume Monday.

Coy released a statement saying: "We look forward to the return of the employees impacted by the labor dispute and concentrating on running the business." Translation: "Whew."

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.