Pact covers 250 employees
WGA East members have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new contract with ABC News after working without one for nearly three years.Deal was approved by 79% of affected WGA East members in voting held during special meetings in Gotham and Washington, D.C., on Thursday and Friday (Daily Variety, Nov. 30). Pact covers about 250 employees who work as newswriters, editors, production assistants, desk assistants, graphic artists and researchers. New contract, which takes affect immediately and runs through Feb. 1, 2010, sets 3.5% raises annually of a $3,700 contract bonus for full-time employees and a pro-rated bonus for those working per diem schedules or for lesser periods of time. The WGA said the contract also lowers night shift differential by one hour in its second year, increases acting editor fees and establishes a new fee for production assistants, diminishes payment for a missed lunch period in network radio and decreases payment for ops room work in network radio while grandfathering current employees. Deal with ABC News comes as WGA East members who work for CBS News are on strike alert. Guild got the OK last month from members to call a strike against CBS News at any time after more than two years of on-and-off haggling over a new contract covering 500 employees at CBS News and Eye-owned TV and radio stations (Daily Variety, Nov. 20).