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The agreement, initially reached in April after a few months of negotiation, will apply to around 260 staffers, including newswriters, producers, desk associates, graphic artists and others at locations in New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Chicago. The ratification vote for the deal concluded on Friday, with 89.36 percent of members voting “yes” on the agreement.
Key components of the new contract include an annual minimum salary increase of 2 percent for staffers, in line with wage bumps in previous contracts at the network, and a full pension rate increase (2.75 percent). Temporary employees’ wages will rise annually per the contract, going up 3.5 percent in the first year, 3 percent in the second year and 3.25 percent in the third year. By the second year of the contract, producer fees in Los Angeles and New York will grow to $50 from $45, while at Chicago’s WBBM station, those fees will rise $5 a year to $50 by the end of the contract. The agreement also establishes additional compensation for workers filling in for executives or senior producers in some cases. Acting editors’ fees will also rise by 15 percent.
Other contract changes include instituting severance pay and parental leave for full-time temps who are considered long-term workers, a change to the contract’s “comp day” calculation, more severance pay for long-term staffers, up to 72 weeks for particular kinds of layoffs, and the addition of a side letter addressing how the company can request work from home.
WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson led the negotiations for the latest CBS News contract. Peterson said in a statement, “Because our members at CBS News mobilized and made their voices heard, we won a solid contract that raises pay, includes a hefty boost in pension contributions, increases fees, and makes transformational gains for longer-term ‘temporary’ employees – severance pay and parental leave. In a challenging environment, we were able to make real gains.”
In addition to workers at CBS News, the Guild also covers broadcast news staffers at ABC News, 1010 WINS, Audacy and Fox 5 WNYW-TV. In 2020, Writers Guild East-affiliated workers at the CBS News’ digital streaming network CBSN ratified their first contract covering more than 65 writers and producers, among others. The CBSN union was voluntarily recognized by management after an independent card check in 2019.
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