CBS has settled an unfair labor practice charge filed by the Writers Guild of America West over CBS’ cutting newswriters’ pay for participating in a lunchtime protest.
The WGA West said Thursday that the net settled the charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board over the Aug. 16 protest.
The settlement includes a recognition by CBS of employees’ right to engage in union activity and pays the wages that were withheld.
Deal covers newswriters at KCBS/KCAL and writers at radio station KNX who left their desks to protest stalled contract talks between the WGA and CBS and recent layoffs of newsroom personnel.
The WGA alleged CBS’ conduct was illegal on two fronts — its videotaping of the protest amounted to unlawful surveillance of union activity and newswriters were unlawfully docked pay for demonstrating during their lunch break.
For its part, CBS took issue with the WGA’s characterization of its actions as a “settlement” with the WGA. “Rather, CBS took unilateral action to remedy a situation that came to our attention when the WGA filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board,” it said in a statement.
The WGA announced last week that it would send CBS’ latest contract proposal to the 500 employees it reps for voting — even though its negotiating committee contends the proposal is unacceptable. The guild, which has been unable to reach a deal with CBS for nearly two years, said it had taken the step in response to CBS’ repeated assertion that the members would accept any offer presented.