WGAW, CBS resolve tussle over walkout at L.A. outlets

Staff can 'engage in union activity'

The WGA West and CBS have ended a dispute resulting from a recent walkout at Los Angeles TV stations KCBS and KCAL tied to negotiations for a new newswriter contract, with the guild agreeing to withdraw an unfair labor practice charge.

The WGAW, which filed the charge against the network on behalf of newswriters at the two stations, said CBS has agreed "to recognize the employees' right to engage in union activity" and to pay back wages withheld after the Aug. 16 job action. The newswriters participated in a lunchtime protest in support of guild contract demands.

About 500 newswriters and others in four markets continue to work under terms of a contract that expired in April 2005. WGA balloting is under way on a proposed new pact, which would provide nonretroactive pay increases totaling 12% over the next 45 months.

Those voting on the pact include newswriters, editors, desk and production assistants, graphic artists, promotion writers and researchers in Los Angeles, New York, Washington and Chicago. Results of the balloting are expected by Nov. 29.

KCBS and KCAL issued a joint statement objecting to any characterization of the situation as involving a "settlement" with the WGA.

"Contrary to the WGA's statement, there was no determination that CBS violated the National Labor Relations Act, nor was there a settlement with the WGA," the stations said. "Rather, CBS took unilateral action to remedy a situation that came to our attention when the WGA filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board."