CNN NLRB Case Update: October '08

October 1, 2008

TVS/CNN Members,

The National Labor Relations Board’s Unfair Labor Practice case against CNN and Team Video Services is now in the hands of Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan.  Back in the summer when the presentation of testimony and evidence wrapped up, attorneys representing the NLRB, CNN, TVS, NABET-CWA Locals 31 and 11 were given time to prepare and file post hearing briefs with the Administrative Law Judge.  The attorneys spent months sorting through thousands of pages of witness transcripts and evidence presented during the 81 days on the record in order to make their respective arguments for why the judge should rule in their favor.  It is now up to the Administrative Law Judge to read through the lengthy briefs, look over the volumes of evidence and transcripts and then render a decision.  There is no time limit to do this, he can take as long as he sees fit.

In the August 4, 2008 update we addressed the matter of a separate battle over CNN documents being waged in US District Court in New York.  The District Court Judge ruled that the NLRB had not exhausted every avenue within its own agency to obtain these documents and that bringing the fight to District Court was premature.  He sent the matter back to the Division of Judges in the NLRB’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Although the parties are still fighting over these documents, Judge Amchan is keeping our case on schedule and will make his decision without the documents in the interest of not delaying our case any longer.  The NLRB reserves the right to reopen the record if/when they obtain these documents.  The trial attorneys have put on a very strong case with or without these documents, obtaining them would just make it that much stronger.

It’s important to understand that the Judge’s ruling may not be the final chapter, there is an appeals process afforded to the side that loses.  The Judge’s ruling is first appealed to the National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C. who are appointed by the U.S. President.  Sometime after the next presidential administration takes office, a reconstituted National Labor Relations Board will be appointed pending Senate approval.  Until the new board is in place nothing will happen in regards to an appeal.  Following a decision by the Board, the losing side can then appeal to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Each step in the process can be lengthy due to the complexities of this case and the large volume of documents involved.  Of course, there’s always the chance that all appeals will not be filed, but if it does, we don’t want it to come as a surprise to our members.