ABC reaches deal with unions

WGAE, AFL-CIO ink contract for radio, TV news workers

NEW YORK -- The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO and ABC have reached a tentative deal for a new three-year contract for ABC TV and radio news employees in New York and Washington.

The WGA East announced the deal late Friday and said it is subject to approval by the WGAE Council and about 250 members covered by the contract.

The WGAE said it agreed to ABC's wish for greater flexibility in work assignments, but improved job security protections for affected members.

Under the terms of the deal, WGAE-ABC employees would receive wage increases of at least 2% per year in each year of the contract, according to the union. The first increase would come on April 12.

The contract also provides a minimum salary for the first time and an enhanced severance package for writers who produce shows for WABC-TV.

Certain other payments, including a promo/continuity availability fee and acting editor fee, would rise under the new contract.

"The tentative agreement achieves our goals of protecting our members' economic interests and ensuring that the Guild and its members remain central to the company's operation as the broadcast news business is transformed in coming years," said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East.

"The contract takes into consideration the direction the industry is headed because of technology and economics, and recognizes that our members are particularly well suited to thrive in this environment."
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