CBS News staffers OK strike authorization



NEW YORK -- After working without a contract for more than two years, CBS News employees represented by the WGA East approved a strike authorization vote.

The authorization, which was approved by 81% of the CBS News employees in a special election Thursday and Friday, doesn't automatically mean that they will go on strike. A strike has to be approved by the negotiating committee and the upper echelon of the WGAE.

But a strike can be called at any time.

The 300 or so employees -- writers, desk assistants, assignment editors and others -- work for CBS network television and radio and local TV and radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. They have been without a contract since April 2, 2005, and have gone without a pay raise since April 2004.

A contentious war of words between the WGA and CBS has steadily escalated since the contract ended, with protests occurring several times in front of the CBS upfront presentations at Carnegie Hall and CBS Broadcast Center at West 57th Street. The sides haven't been to the bargaining table since January.