NABET members have ratified a new four-year contract with ABC that covers 1,100 employees as well as thousands of freelancers (Daily Variety, Dec. 7).

Deal was approved by all eight NABET bargaining units at ABC through secret balloting held in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Pact covers ABC News scribes, broadcast engineers, desk assistants, publicists, plant maintenance staff and traffic coordinators, among other job categories.

NABET’s previous contract with ABC expired March 31. Union reps characterized the negotiations as “extremely difficult,” but in addition to wage gains of 3%-3.5% per year for most workers, union reps said they were successful in modifying or eliminating an ABC proposal that would have made it easier for the company to lay off older, better-paid workers. It also secured the opportunity for frequently hired freelancers to be eligible for medical coverage through Disney’s health plan, NABET said.

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New pact runs through March 31, 2011.