WGBH management issues final offer to Communications Workers union

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After what one union rep termed “contentious” negotiations, WGBH management has presented its final proposal for a new agreement with its largest union, reports the Boston Globe in today’s (March 2) edition. Managers of the pubcasting producing powerhouse and officials of the Association of Employees of the Educational Foundation, Communications Workers of America, Local 1300, have been talking since August 2010 on a three-year contract to replace an agreement that expired at the end of October 2010. WGBH employs 850 people, and the Local represents 280 writers, editors, production workers and marketing employees. Management wants concessions including cuts in the company’s match for employee retirement plans and authority to redefine job descriptions, which would allow WGBH to assign employees to work across various media platforms. Union officials agree on the retirement plan cuts, but oppose allowing WGBH to outsource work without negotiations, terminate on-air talent without cause, or assign members to perform work outside their job description. Jordan Weinstein, president of the AEEF/CWA, Local 1300, and local host of All Things Considered, said negotiations have been contentious. “This is not the warm and friendly way to deal with your employees,’’ he said. Station spokesperson Jeanne Hopkins said although the management offer is “our last proposal,’’officials are still willing to talk. Union workers vote March 12 on the offer. If they reject it, both sides will be considered at an impasse and WGBH can implement the terms of its final offer beginning March 15.

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