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Directors win improved pay and benefits for network news and sports workers

October 18, 2010 | 12:56 pm

Everyone is talking about deflation, but not for those who work in unionized news and sports jobs at the networks.

The Directors Guild of America said Monday that it reached an agreement with the major networks providing wage and health plan increases for directors, assistant directors, production assistants and others who work in news and sports at ABC, CBS and NBC and a number of their owned TV stations.

The proposed three-year contract, which was approved by the board Saturday and awaits a final ratification vote by members, covers about 1,000 guild staff and freelance members. The tentative agreement includes a 1% increase in the amount that employers contribute to the union's health plan, annual 2% wage increases in the second and third year of the contract and guarantees that the DGA will have jurisdiction over secondary digital channels.

"It's no secret that the past few years have been extremely difficult for local stations and news operations, with severe declines in advertising and revenue,'' DGA President Taylor Hackford said in a statement. "Despite this challenging climate, the Negotiations Committee successfully achieved a number of gains, which I think is an indication of the extremely high value our members bring to news, sports and operations."

Acknowledging the tough climate for bargaining, negotiations chair William Brady said he and his colleagues were able to "fend off a series of onerous proposals and secure a solid agreement."

-- Richard Verrier