Members of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians meeting in Chicago have voted to sign on to the Communication Workers of America’s $170 million strike fund.
NABET officials believe the move will add muscle to their 17-month battle with ABC, where employees represented by the union are working without a contract.
“We are entering a new era where the strike will once again become an effective strategy for unions,” said Morton Bahr, president of CWA, which merged with NABET five years ago.
The vote of the NABET members, who met for a three-day convention that wrapped Saturday at the Chicago Hyatt Regency, gives the broadcast union hefty financial backing and access to the strike fund, to which a small percentage of members’ dues will now be dedicated.
Later this month, union officials are scheduled to sit down with NBC brass to bargain for a contract to replace a pact that will expire in 1999. “Collective bargaining seems to become more difficult with each passing year,” said NABET president John S. Clark, who was re-elected president at the Chicago gathering. “Battles rage over new technologies and fads like merit pay. Station sales and trades have become all too common and further complicate the process.”