HOLLYWOOD — The Writers Guild of America East has opened negotiations in Gotham with CBS because the net wants the right to terminate its guild contract in the event that it combines or merges all or part of its operations.
CBS refused to comment on the talks, which launched Wednesday and are scheduled to resume this morning.
The WGA said the CBS proposals included rollbacks in severance, scheduling, vacation, escalator scales, seniority and the elimination of paid meal periods and night differential pay.
The guild also said the CBS proposal would eliminate WGA representation of researchers and transfer guild writing duties to a significant number of non-guild managers.
The WGA said its proposal calls for improvements in vacation, severance, sick leave, maternity and paternity leave, family care and working conditions; improvements for temporary employees; improved provisions for the filling of staff vacancies and rotating off weekends; penalties for untimely schedule changes; and fees for working in short-staffed newsrooms.
The WGA also said CBS reps had refused to grant its request to schedule negotiating sessions in Chicago or Washington, D.C., citing economic factors. The guild said all prior negotiations dating back to the 1960s had included sessions in Chicago, Los Angeles or Washington.
The WGA is continuing to negotiate for ABC News staffers, who voted in January to authorize a strike (Daily Variety, Feb. 1).