Pact provides 3% annual pay hikes for staff

Members of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians have ratified a four-year deal covering more than 4,000 technicians, newswriters and other job classifications at ABC.

NABET-repped employees work at ABC News, ABC Entertainment and ABC Sports along with several ABC- owned TV and radio stations. The NABET union membership at ABC includes about 1,200 regular employees, as well as several thousand others who work for the network on a daily hire basis.

ABC made the announcement Friday. Pact took effect with ratification and continues through March 31, 2007. The previous contracts expired May 12 and had been extended.

Jeff Ruthizer, ABC’s senior VP of labor relations and chief negotiator, said, “This forward-thinking agreement will better allow ABC to utilize advances in technology and efficiency, and in doing so, to heighten our competitiveness in the marketplace — benefiting both the company and its employees.”

Pact provides for 3% annual pay hikes and a hefty increase in ABC’s contribution rate to the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians employee benefits plan from 3% to 5.5% of earnings for staff.

Bargaining on the new pact began in February, and negotiators reached a tentative deal in August. The resolution by ABC and NABET contrasted sharply with bitter contract negotiations in 1998 and 1999 that included an 11-week lockout by ABC.

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