NABET gets OK to strike H’wood org

Editors at the National Captioning Institute on Wednesday authorized NABET to call a strike against the institute’s Hollywood office.

In a secret ballot, the editors voted 26-0 to give the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians freedom to call the work stoppage.

The vote follows another unanimous decision Aug. 13 to reject the institute’s last contract proposal.

The Hollywood offices of the nation’s largest captioning service for the deaf and hard of hearing could be crippled by a strike with as many as 33 workers walking out.

But NABET spokesman Dick Smith said a strike was not a sure thing. “It takes the union one step closer to calling a strike, but it doesn’t mean there will be one if we can keep talking,” Smith said.

Institute rep Don Thieme said the company was ready to “shift the workload accordingly” to handle any strike in Hollywood. He added that only prerecorded programming would be affected by a strike.

The union has been negotiating with the institute since April over benefits, furloughs and premium pay. In July, the two sides agreed to use a federal mediator.

NABET flatly rejected the Aug. 9 contract proposal from the institute, which Smith said offered no wage increases for three years. Smith said both parties and the federal mediator are trying to find a date to start talks again.

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