NABET Leaders Decide Not to Let Members Vote on NBC Pact
NEW YORK (AP) _ Leaders of the union on strike against NBC decided Wednesday not to let its 2,800 members vote on the network contract offer that prompted the walkout five weeks ago.
Union members in Los Angeles and Chicago on Friday requested the right to vote on the package.
On Wednesday, negotiators for the union’s six striking locals discussed the request in a conference call and voted it down, said John Kreiger, spokesman for the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians.
″The negotiating committee reiterated its position that the package has been turned down before and that’s the way it’s going to remain,″ said Arthur Kent, president of Local 11 in New York, with 1,300 members the largest NABET local on strike.
NBC expressed regret.
″We really had wished that they had been allowed to vote on it from the very beginning,″ said NBC spokeswoman McClain Ramsey. ″Had they been allowed to, the whole strike could have been avoided.″
Union bargainers called the strike June 29 without putting the package to a vote of the rank and file after the network unilaterally implemented the contract.
Union leaders contend they fully briefed the 2,800 members. They also point to a 90 percent strike authorization vote and say the company’s final offer is so unsatisfactory that it is not worth putting to a vote of the strikers.
The other NABET locals involved are San Francisco, Cleveland and Washington.
Carrie Biggs-Adams, president of Local 53 in Los Angeles, with about 800 members, said earlier that the request for the right to vote on the package came from engineers who wanted to send NBC a message by rejecting the offer.
In Chicago, Dainel Delaney, president of Local 41, said the push for a vote came came from fewer than a dozen well-paid network employees who had personal contracts and wanted to get back to work.
The strike involves radio and TV producers, writers, editors, video and audio technicians, graphic artists and desk assistants. The major sticking point, job security, centers on the hiring of employees on a daily, free-lance basis.