CNN hit with NLRB complaint

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CNN, which like much of cable television remains unorganized, has been hit with a federal labor complaint for refusing to honor a union contract for field camera crews after taking over certain newsgathering operations in New York and Washington.

The dispute between the cable news pioneer and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA — affecting 350 technical workers in two bureaus — dates to 2003. That's when CNN assumed newsgathering operations previously contracted to Team Video Services, whose employees were represented by NABET-CWA.

The union filed unfair labor practice charges against the network, contending it illegally voided the workers' union contract. The charges accused the network of improperly dismissing a number of former TVS employees, while rehiring the balance at reduced wages and benefits.

The National Labor Relations Board has now issued a complaint in the dispute that CNN will have to answer in an administrative hearing. The complaint, which was issued April 4 and circulated to the parties this week, states that forced remedies to the situation could include CNN's rehiring those dismissed and reinstating the union contract.

"Although this ruling has been a long time coming, we're gratified and confident that the board's decision will finally put us on a path to justice for these CNN workers," NABET-CWA president John Clark said Wednesday.

Ed McEwan, president of the union's Local 11 in New York, vowed not "to let CNN walk over us."

Washington Local 31 president Carl Mayers told members the union would press the matter "no matter now long it takes."

A CNN spokeswoman declined comment.

NABET-CWA said it has been advised a hearing before an administrative judge will be held in September.
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