by Dave McNary, Film Reporter, Variety.com
The National Labor Relations Board has ordered CNN to rehire 100 workers and compensate 200 others for a labor dispute that originated in 2003.
The 11-year dispute stems from CNN’s decision to replace a unionized subcontractor called Team Video Services, which provided the network with audio and video technicians, with an in-house nonunion work force in its Washington and New York bureaus.
The decision comes weeks after CNN’s top boss Jeff Zucker hinted at additional job cuts at the Turner-owned news channel, which employs over 2,000 people.
“We are going to have to do what we do with less,” he said in a memo to CNN employees. “As a result, that means there will be changes. No final decisions have been made.”
It’s unclear how the NLRB’s ruling will impact the expected restructuring at the news operation.
The Labor Board found “overwhelming” evidence of anti-union animus in CNN’s failure to bargain with the union about the decision to terminate the subcontracts. The org also found CNN had implemented a hiring plan designed to limit the number of discharged TVS employees to avoid a successorship bargaining obligation.
A CNN spokesperson said, “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we are evaluating our options.”
The Communication Workers of America said that CNN’s 2003 decision had amounted to a “phony reorganization scheme to get rid of unionized workers.”
The union also said the compensation for the 200 employees, who continued to work at the company without the benefits of a union contract, would be “on the order of tens of millions of dollars.”
The union also said CNN is required to restore any bargaining unit work that was outsourced since the end of the contracts. The company also must recognize the employees’ union and resume bargaining with NABET-CWA Local 11 and NABET-CWA Local 31.
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