Pact wraps seven months of talks

NEW YORK — CBS and the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists have reached a tentative settlement in their longstanding squabble over benefits.

The agreement, announced Tuesday, ends seven months of wrangling between the network and the 500 CBS on-air employees represented by the union. Union members will vote on the proposed deal later this year.

CBS and AFTRA began sparring late last year after the Eye network announced unilateral changes to workers’ health, pension, 401K and other benefit plans. In March, the union filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board accusing CBS of violating federal law by making the benefits changes without first bargaining with the union.

Details of the tentative deal were not disclosed, but sources say AFTRA members will now have a greater range of benefit options. CBS has also agreed to notify the union of future benefits changes.

“We’re happy to have reached an understanding,” a CBS spokesman said.

Bruce York, executive director of AFTRA, issued a statement hailing the proposed deal as “overwhelmingly positive for AFTRA-represented CBS employees.”

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