Thursday, April 8, 2010

Solidarity, Public Support Lead to Contract Win at NPR

After getting the public behind them and beating back the worst of management demands, NABET-CWA members at National Public Radio overwhelmingly approved a five-year contract that raises wages, preserves job security and restores the union's voice in a benefits task force.

Members of Local 52031 rallied, leafleted and created a Facebook page encouraging listeners to e-mail NPR's CEO. The campaign stressed that workers agreed to take a big financial hit in 2009 to help the non-profit radio network overcome lost donations and corporate sponsorships at the economy's lowest point.

"Today, NPR is doing much, much better thanks to the sacrifices our members made, and yet NPR still wanted more," NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce said. "But Local 52031's solidarity and the very effective Facebook campaign, which NPR knew could grow much larger, made all the difference."

Listeners' e-mails cautioned CEO Vivian Schiller that they would reconsider their annual pledges if she didn't treat workers fairly. Bargaining team members said they were certain Schiller was reading the e-mails and believed that she even responded to some.

The contract provides an annual 2.5 percent wage increase, improves overtime pay, requires buyouts to be offered before layoffs, and maintains seniority rights.

The union regained a seat at the table when an NPR task force meets to discuss health care, retirement or other benefits.Local 52031 represents 65 workers, including audio technicians who are responsible for the radio network's award-winning sound and audio editing.

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