WGA, ABC set talks

Guild sets contract chat with net

The Writers Guild of America and ABC have agreed to meet Nov. 29 for bargaining on the contract covering about 250 newsroom employees in Washington, D.C., and New York.

The announcement comes after ABC made a “last, best and final” offer on Oct. 4, with the condition that the deal would be available only if ratified by Oct. 31.

The two sides have been sparring over terms of a new deal for well over a year. During the last talks, the net bumped its pay offer at the session by 3% for the final year to lift the overall pay raise to 12.5% over 39 months, but the WGA said the offer was still well below the guild’s proposed wage increases, as well as below industry or cost-of-living standards.

Additionally, ABC is seeking to remove writer-producers from guild coverage, insisting it needs the change to compete. The WGA contends such a step would compromise editorial independence.

The employees have been working under a contract that expired Jan. 31, 2005.

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