CBS, WGA still at loggerheads


CBS' lead negotiator circulated a memo to network management Monday suggesting that the WGA has misrepresented its news-contract offer, a multiyear package on which guild membership is currently voting.

CBS senior vp industry relations Harry Isaacs sent the memo to senior managers in New York and Los Angeles "to clear up some of the public mischaracterizations the guild has made about our offer."

The Isaacs memo goes on to detail the terms of the network's latest offer, including annual pay raises of 3% for employees in TV and network radio and 2% for those in local radio.

WGA East executive director Mona Mangan issued a statement in response to a management suggestion that the guild had not explained terms of the contract proposal sufficiently to members.

"When we informed the WGA-CBS membership of the impending contract vote, we sent each guild member a detailed outline of the entire proposal they will vote on," Mangan said. "We fully expected CBS to present these same employees with the CBS perspective. Our membership is smart and informed. We're confident that they will see this offer as exactly what it is -- and reject it. We hope CBS will finally get the message that we've been sending them for 20 months: Their offer is unacceptable."

About 500 CBS newswriters, editors, desk and production assistants, graphic artists, promotion writers and researchers in New York, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles continue to work under terms of a contract that expired in April 2005.

The network has set a Nov. 30 deadline for accepting the proposal. A WGAE spokeswoman said the results of ongoing membership voting should be available by Nov. 29.