CNN: More Information
“The labor board lost its quorum yesterday as the term of board member Craig Becker came to an end -- essentially crippling the agency, no doubt to the pleasure of many conservatives. Although the recess appointments will probably be challenged legally by business groups, the move could allow the board to continue operating without disruption. According to the White House, Obama plans to appoint union lawyer Richard Griffin, current Labor Department official Sharon Block, and NLRB counsel Terence Flynn.” Huffington Post, January 4, 2012
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27 2012: GOP Senators have filed litigation to stop the Recess appointment made by President Obama to the National Labor Relations Board several months ago. The Republican Senate had strangled that Board by not filling positions long enough that the Board could not legally function in consideration of labor complaints and labor issues. When the Senate blocked the President’s appointments - the President made a recess appointment to the Board to get it functioning again. Needless to say - the current filings were an attempt to discredit the Labor Board before the election. Prior cases suggest the GOP will lose in this case - but not until after the election impact.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2012: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) promised to pass filibuster reform. In his first post-election press conference, the Nevada Democrat said he wouldn't go so far as to eliminate the filibuster, which requires 60 votes for the chamber to enter and exit the amendment and debate process. He warned Republicans that obstructionism as a tactic won't be tolerated -- or as technically feasible. The GOP essentially stopped all action last year - preventing effective government on the Senate side. Many cloture motions and threats of filibuster have been directed to the confirmation process which made it almost impossible to make effective Presidential appointments during the last four years.
Now that the election has concluded, we can only hope that the Administration and the NLRB can finally move forward on vital issues for working families.
CWA and NABET-CWA Call for Immediate NLRB Decision on CNN Case
This case has been languishing before the NLRB since 2003, and points out the total failure of U.S. labor law when it comes to workers rights, said CWA President Larry Cohen. CNN set out to get rid of union workers and their bargaining rights. Despite overwhelming evidence that CNN broke the law, today, nearly eight years later, workers still are denied justice. Its time for the NLRB to take action.
In November 2008, NLRB Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan issued a scathing decision against CNN, finding that the network created a phony reorganization scheme to get rid of workers because they had a union, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA. The judge said that CNN engaged in widespread and egregious misconduct, demonstrating a flagrant and general disregard for workers rights.
He ordered the immediate reinstatement of the 110 workers who were not rehired through CNNs scam hiring system, called for the restoration of the economic losses of all 250 workers and ordered CNN to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA. None of CNNs defenses was accepted by the judge.
Two years after that decision, after the NLRB judge confirmed CNNs union-busting practices, CNN technicians still are waiting for justice, said Jim Joyce, president of NABET-CWA.
CWAs motion calls on the NLRB to give this case priority over all other pending cases. This action is necessary, CWA said, because none of the remedies ordered by the ALJ in 2008 have been implemented and more than 204 workers are due substantial remediation. The saying justice delayed is justice denied has particular relevance to violations of the National Labor Relations Act, CWA said, because such delay makes it more difficult for workers to believe they will ever obtain justice under the law. CWA called for a decision to be issued without further delay.
Further Update information on NLRB vs. CNN/Team Video:
Working People Deserve a Functioning NLRB!
Feb 28, 2013
The AFL-CIO Executive Council this week sent a clear-cut message to Senate Democrats: Empower the National Labor Relations Board, or else.
Leaders called on President Barack Obama to nominate a full package of nominees to the NLRB — five board members and a general counsel — that the Senate must swiftly confirm. They urged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to do everything in his power to confirm these nominees, even if it means overhauling the Senate rules to overcome a Senate GOP filibuster.
Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America and chairman of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s organizing committee, said in a news briefing that Senate Democrats had various options on how to get those nominees approved and "we expect you to use all the options."
Mr. Cohen warned that if Senate Republicans filibustered to block the nominations and Senate Democrats did not then adopt tougher rules to overcome filibusters, "we will mobilize and take action against the Senate Democrats like we never have before."
"We will be mobilizing across the country in every state in every one of their offices," he added.
As it stands, the NLRB is toothless. On Jan. 25, a three-judge panel of Republican appointees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declared President Barack Obama's three recess appointments to the NLRB unconstitutional because the Senate wasn't technically recessed, only away on winter break. In knocking down three of the board's five members, the Noel Canning ruling completely vaporized the NLRB's ability to enforce U.S. labor law.
At its February meeting, the AFL-CIO Executive Council, representing 57 affiliate unions, outlined their plan of action in a statement condemning the decision, which has "seriously undermined enforcement of the law and made an already weak law even more lopsided against workers exercising their rights." It said:
The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Noel Canning is unprecedented, and it is sweeping in its potential reach. By the court's logic, more than 300 recess appointments made by Presidents Reagan, Clinton, Obama and both Presidents Bush were invalid — including 141 appointments made by President George W. Bush alone. It's a shocking and far-reaching decision that dramatically and painfully illustrates the consequences of Senate Republicans exploiting Senate rules to prevent President Obama from getting all but two of his nominees confirmed to the NLRB and any of his nominees confirmed to the District of Columbia Circuit.
CNN Members are Victims of the NLRB! (.pdf 02-26-13)
December 22, 2011
UPDATE on CNN
“Justice is a consumer product and must therefore meet the test of confidence, reliability and dependability …” -- Dato’ Dr.Cyrus Dass, the President of the (India) Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association
Members have asked why it is taking so long for the NLRB to act in the CNN case and have requested an update. There have been no updates since November of this year because there is nothing to report. Due to processes at the board beyond our control, there is no certainty as to when a decision may be forthcoming. A routine case can take as little as six months to be resolved. As you know, this case is far from routine, involving 16,000 pages of testimony and 1300 exhibits, the largest record ever in a labor case. Despite this complexity, a decision should have been issued by now. The failure of the board to act is deeply frustrating for me as it is for you.
Our sense of urgency is motivated not only by our desire for justice, but also by the fact that our members are in a state of uncertainty. Our anxiety is heightened by the fact that, due to Congressional delays, we will lose a working quorum on the board at the end of this year. The board will simply be unable to act after that point unless the President and the Congress act immediately. We urge them to overcome the cynical obstruction by Senate Republicans who have crippled the agency empowered to protect worker’s rights.
In closing this report, I must say that I share your concerns and alarm. Your union has devoted huge amounts of time and resources to this case. Our members deserve a better fate than to become the victims of judicial paralysis. Let justice be done!
All the TVS/CNN employees who were illegally fired are getting back pay assessment packages from the NLRB. The Board has sent out a large mailing of questionnaires to CNN discriminatees. They're asking people to return their earnings and work search information for the period through December 31, 2005 by June 15, 2011 and have established a later date by which they would like the remaining information. We understand that this will be very challenging for a number of discriminatees and both the Board and the Union will work with them as needed. We anticipate many phone calls.
The Union realizes that filling these forms and answering the questions may require some assistance. Members may call the Union Office at 301-495-4999, and can get the phone number for the NLRB regional office who can answer their questions directly.
Members can also request a electronic copy of the Questionnaire, by email request to: email@example.com. Be sure to mention your Team Video employment location (DC or NY) in the subject line. The form will be emailed to them, and they can submit their completed form via email.
To help those members with the calculation of pack pay, the former TVS/CNN contract is posted here for your reference.
To: all CNN/TVS Members
NLRB / CNN forms information:
Memorial for Jerry Thompson
Here is information on our CNN/NABET member Jerry Thompson who passed away on Jan. 29, 2011. He is survived by his wife Inez Perez-Thompson, a small son and two teenage sons by a prior marriage.
The family address:
20854 Trinity Square
Sterling, VA 20165
Our Friend Jerry Thompson
NLRB News Release: Board orders compound interest
This press release reinforces the board's policy that back pay will be with interest that is compounded daily. Decisions update NLRB remedial actions to reflect current practices.
|September 30, 2009
Here's the latest on the National Labor Relations Board's Unfair Labor Practice case against CNN and Team Video Services. The filings of appeal briefs and reply briefs by attorneys representing CNN, the NLRB General Counsel, and NABET-CWA Locals 11 and 31 seems to have concluded, though with this case it's difficult to say for certain.
President Obama has nominated three attorneys to fill the vacant seats on the labor board. The nominees are Brian Hayes (Republican), Craig Becker (Democrat), and Mark Pearce (Democrat). Once confirmed by the US Senate they will join Peter Schaumber (Republican) and Board Chairperson Wilma Liebman (Democrat). The labor board majority reflects the administration's political party, so the Obama labor board will consist of three Democrats and two Republicans. It isn't known when the Senate will move to confirm the nominees. It's important to note that there is no time limit on labor board deliberations of the appeal of Administrative Law Judge Arthur Amchan's November 2008 decision and given the size and complexity of our case the process could be quite lengthy.
Here is a recent update on the National Labor Relations Board's Unfair Labor Practice case against CNN and Team Video for all TVS/CNN members. ALJ Buxbaum's report is the NLRB Special Master's report concerning an on-going subpoena dispute, the full purpose of which is explained in the update.
There are various appendices to the ALJ decision setting forth by name those individuals, both terminated employees and those currently working at CNN, who are entitled to remedial relief pursuant to the decision. Already one employee has contacted the Local to claim that he was inadvertently left off the list. We can correct this by filing an exception concerning any person who we have good reason to believe was inadvertently left off the list or was incorrectly excluded. It is very important that any person that feels that they were inadvertently left off the list contact the Local office and should send us a detailed email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The local unions can file exceptions with the NLRB.
The Big Lie at CNN!
CNN, despite its reputation as relatively “progressive”, has long been very anti-union. It regularly has much lower working conditions than virtually any other comparative broadcasting operation in America that is covered by important union-negotiated collective bargaining agreements. One of the reasons CNN originally set up its main operations in Georgia was due to the weaker legal protections of workers and unions in so-called “right to work” states. Despite this fact, in the early 1980s when CNN’s Atlanta headquarters first opened, the vast majority of workers signed cards to join NABET, the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians. The union lost the vote to become their bargaining agent in a controversial campaign in which CNN’s founder Ted Turner spent over a million dollars in anti-union efforts. Turner publicly suggested he would rather close CNN than recognize the union.
In order to avoid having to deal directly with unions in CNN’s New York and Washington offices the company at first subcontracted all its technical services to Team Video Services (TVS) among others. Predictably, given the better labor protections in these places, the subcontracted workers in both New York and Washington early became union members by voting overwhelmingly in a secret ballot election to join NABET-CWA and were able to negotiate a series of labor agreements.
However some three years ago CNN managed to get rid of most of its unionized members and escape the contract by dropping TVS and setting up something called the “Bureau Staffing Project” which hired the workers directly under worse conditions and without recognition of the union.
Justice delayed is justice denied. After five years of investigation, charges filed, and exhaustive hearings, in December 2008 NLRB Judge Amchan declared CNN had engaged in, " ...widespread and egregious misconduct, demonstrating a flagrant and general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights." And yet, the issue is still not resolved. CNN is appealing the NLRB judge’s ruling, possibly for years, making the arrival of these workers’ day of justice uncertain. The union will not quit.
CNN continues to tell its employees that the union is trying to force representation without another union election. What? Our NABET-CWA represented members have already spoken, twice. The NLRB judge has already spoken. Now CNN declares, “Employees should have a secret ballot.” But just like last time, today's law still allows these same union-busting lawyers and “persuaders” to lean on workers; so much for the secret ballot, free choice, and who's the "thug." It is likely that the Company’s intimidation campaign of the past would continue. Here is yet another example of why workers need real labor law reform to level the playing field and get real and meaningful representation.
The lesson here is undeniable. Today's case makes it obvious that within current labor law, even with an unambiguous NLRB judge's ruling, companies know they can deny worker’s rights and frustrate the process through years of legal delays and argument. How long must union members wait to get justice? We need reform now. We need the Employee Free Choice Act passed and signed into law.
|CNN has been granted a request for an extension of time to file exceptions to the Administrative law Judge decision. The new date for filing exceptions is February 17, 2009. The NLRB and Locals 31 and 11 will have an opportunity to file cross exceptions after CNN's exceptions are filed. Cross exceptions present an opportunity for the NLRB and the two locals to appeal any aspect of the Administrative Law Judge's decision that they take issue with.|
News from the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA
The Union for the Information Age
For Release Nov. 24, 2008
Contact Brian Powers or Keith Bolek
for NABET-CWA, (202) 362-0041
or Candice Johnson, CWA Communications, 202-434-1168
Administrative Law Judge Issues Landmark Decision
Against CNN America, Inc.
Judge finds that CNN engaged in “widespread and egregious misconduct, demonstrating a flagrant and general disregard” for employee rights
Orders immediate reinstatement of 110 workers
Washington, D.C. – The Honorable Arthur J. Amchan, an Administrative Law Judge of the National Labor Relations Board, issued a decision detailing how CNN America, Inc. (“CNN”) violated the federally protected rights of more than 250 employees at the network’s bureaus in Washington, D.C. and New York, N.Y. The Judge found that CNN committed substantial violations of the National Labor Relations Act when it terminated a subcontracting relationship with Team Video Services (“TVS”) – whose employees were represented by NABET-CWA, Local 31 and Local 11 (collectively “NABET-CWA”). CNN also was found to have discriminated against TVS employees who sought to continue their employment at CNN’s bureaus.
The Judge found that CNN discriminated against the TVS employees in a blatant attempt to avoid having to recognize and bargain with the employees’ collective bargaining representatives. This decision is the culmination of more than five years of struggle by workers and their unions to vindicate their rights at the D.C. and N.Y. CNN Bureaus.
For more than 20 years, CNN subcontracted the technical work of broadcasting news and programming from its D.C. and N.Y. Bureaus to a series of subcontractors. The employees of these subcontractors – who were always represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-CWA – provided the video and sound for many of CNN’s most recognized programs, including Larry King Live and Lou Dobbs Tonight. However, in 2003 and 2004, CNN terminated its subcontract with the last subcontractor, TVS, and announced that the network would hire its own employees to provide these services. CNN developed and implemented what it called the “Bureau Staffing Project,” which was a series of procedures for the recruitment and hiring of these new employees.
In his 169-page decision, Judge Amchan found that CNN was a joint employer with TVS of the subcontractor’s employees and, as a joint employer, the network was obligated to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA over the decision to terminate the subcontracting relationship, as well as the decision to hire new employees. The Judge further found that CNN’s Bureau Staffing Project was a sham, used by the network to discriminate against TVS employees in order to limit the hiring of those employees in order to avoid having to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA. In reaching these conclusions, Judge Amchan thoroughly discredited all of CNN’s witnesses and rejected each of CNN’s defenses.
The judge’s order calls for the following:
Judge Amchan’s order is a comprehensive remedy that requires CNN to recognize and bargain with NABET-CWA, as well as reinstate more than 110 employees who were not hired as part of the Bureau Staffing Project, restore the employees’ working conditions as set forth in the now expired union contracts except for improvements unless requested by NABET-CWA, and to make whole all employees for any loss of earnings and other benefits.
J. Carl Mayers, president of NABET-CWA Local 31/Local 52031, said, “We were very pleased with this decision. It is a great victory for all union workers and would not have been possible without the hard work and courage of the members that were terminated by CNN as well as those that remained and never gave up hope.”
Ed McEwan, president of NABET-CWA Local 11, said, the decision by the ALJ “is a victory for workers, but one that took far too long to achieve because of our broken labor laws. Everyone in America should know that the network management we rely on to bring us the news are not above the illegal practices that they headline on a regular basis. From the very beginning we promised our members that 'we will not forget.' We didn’t, and we're keeping up the fight until fairness is fully won."
The decision will be available on the National Labor Relations Board’s website on Monday, November 24, 2008 on page entitled “ALJ Decisions.”
You can obtain the decision (as a PDF File) by going to the following website: http://www.nlrb.gov/shared_files/ALJ%20Decisions/2008/JD-60-08.pdf
"Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio"
Nothing is more hateful to wisdom than excessive cleverness Lucius Annaeus Seneca
It is the goal of NABET-CWA Local 31 to win back this contract and protect the rights of those working under it. Your Union has made this fight it's top priority and we invite you to continue on our web site to see how. You will also find helpful information as to what employees were entitled to and those legal aspects surrounding why and what CNN has done is so wrong.