Friday, February 4, 2011

IBEW and CBS Negotiations Kick-Off

On February 1, IBEW and CBS commenced bargaining the national contract covering 2,800 members who perform a variety of technical functions nationally and at CBS-owned and operated stations. The parties agree to make efforts to reach agreement by July 31, 2011, however the current extension is not set to expire until January 31, 2012.

On January 20, the parties exchanged proposals opening a window on what union leaders say could be a contentious round of negotiations.

IBEW is seeking to expand job security, increase protections for current members of the bargaining unit and open up new jurisdictions for organizing.

The IBEW-CBS bargaining team has already published two updates to members. They say:

"Our members are the most talented and professional employees in the broadcasting industry. .. It’s only been through your solidarity and support that we have achieved the high standards in this industry that we hold in our contracts."

This year’s CBS negotiations will be the first to be assisted by the newly-merged IBEW Telecommunications and Broadcasting Departments. Announcing the merger to members of the broadcasting branch, the bargaining committee says:

"Over the past decade, our telecommunications and broadcasting locals have felt the impact of technical changes, mergers, acquisitions and a reduction in membership. The two branches are more closely related in the business of providing communications and content than ever. This is one of the many considerations used in the decision to merge the departments."

The director of the merged departments, Martha Pultar, says that it is important to IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill and the IBEW that members in both industries continue to maintain their identities. International Representative Laura Robinson will continue to support broadcasting members, while International Representatives Kevin Curran and Robert Erickson will remain focused on telecommunications.

President Hill has assigned International Representatives Tim Dixon and Dominick Macchia to lead and assist in CBS negotiations. Pultar and Robinson will assist business managers Lloyd Webster, Lil Firmani, Ralph Avigliano and John Rizzo and the various committees.

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