CNN/TVS Members backpay calculation contact info form now available!

Dear Member,

Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a decision enforcing the National Labor Relations Board’s (“the Board”) determination that CNN was a discriminatory successor employer and obligated to recognize Local 11 and Local 31 (collectively “Union”) as the representative of CNN’s newly hired technical employees in New York City and Washington, DC. The Court of Appeals also enforced the Board’s remedy of reinstatement and backpay. The conditions of reinstatement and/or backpay are the subject of further Board hearings that have yet to be scheduled.

At the Board’s suggestion, the General Counsel, Union and CNN have agreed to participate in the Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program (ADR) -— sometimes referred to as mediation. The ADR program assists parties in reaching settlements in pending unfair labor practice cases. The purpose of the ADR program is to facilitate settlement discussion that - if successful - would expedite a resolution to these cases and alleviate the need for additional litigation. The ADR Program will likely begin later this month.

Participation in the Board’s ADR Program is voluntary, and any party who enters into settlement discussions under the program may withdraw its participation at any time. The Board will provide an experienced mediator to assist the parties in reaching a resolution on this matter. The unfair labor practice charges are stayed while the parties participate in the ADR Program. Formal Board hearings will continue if mediation is ultimately unsuccessful.

To assist with the mediation, the Board is putting together an estimate of the backpay that is potentially owed to the employees that are subject to the unfair labor practice charges.

Please fill out the enclosed form to update the Local of any changes in contact information in the event we need to reach out to you to assist the Board in calculating backpay.

We will keep you updated on the next steps as we continue our fight for the justice our members deserve.


Click here to download the form (.pdf)

CNN Update
D.C. Circuit Issues the Final Judgment
          On November 9, 2017, the D.C. Circuit issued a per curiam order and a final judgment in the case between the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and CNN America, Inc. (“CNN”).  The final judgment is exactly what the D.C. Circuit ordered back on October 12, 2017. 
          Back in October, the court adopted a draft judgment prepared by the NLRB, with certain modifications.  The NLRB complied with the court’s order and filed a modified judgment.  Thereafter, CNN sought additional changes to the modified judgment.  These changes would have further weakened the judgment as part of CNN’s continued efforts to deprive the discriminatees of the remedy to which they are entitled under the National Labor Relations Act (“Act”).  The D.C. Circuit rejected each and every additional change sought by CNN.  The final judgment and the court’s per curiam order rejecting CNN’s arguments are posted on the Local 31 website. 
          The case will now be remanded back to the NLRB for further proceedings on the issues of the joint employer relationship between CNN and Team Video Services, the modification of the backpay remedy to conform to the D.C. Circuit’s decision in Capital Cleaning Contractors and the appropriateness of an affirmative bargaining order. CNN has already asked the Executive Secretary of the NLRB for the opportunity to submit a brief on these issues and others.
          It is still difficult to say how long the case will take on remand or how CNN will continue in its efforts to prolong this case and deny justice to the discriminatees. Nevertheless, NABET-CWA Local 31 remains committed to vindicating the rights of employees under the Act and holding CNN accountable to all employees for its now established unfair labor practices.
          The Union will continue to keep you apprised of further developments as they arise.  Stay strong. Stay united. 

CNN update 11-10-17 (pdf)

CNN Proposed Judgment (8/18/2017) (.pdf)

CNN/TVS Update (2/28/2017) (.pdf)
CNN/TVS Update (11/9/2016)

CNN Oral Arguments US Court of Appeals (.pdf)

Updated 4/15/2016
Notice of Docket Activity

The following transaction was entered on 04/14/2016 at 4:38:34 PM EDT and filed on 04/14/2016
Case Name:      NLRB v. CNN America, Inc.
Case Number:    15-1112
Docket Text:
CLERK'S ORDER [1608865] filed granting the motion by respondent/cross-petitioner CNN to extend time to file the reply brief [1608145-2],
The following revised briefing schedule will now apply:
INTERVENOR FOR RESPONDENT Brief due 04/15/2016 (unchanged).
PETITIONER Reply Brief due 05/27/2016.
DEFERRED APPENDIX due 06/03/2016.
Final Briefs due 06/17/2016. [15-1112, 15-1209]

CNN Court Schedule:

United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit
Notice of Docket Activity
Case Name:      NLRB v. CNN America, Inc.
Case Number:    15-1112

CLERK'S ORDER [1604745] filed granting the Board's unopposed motion to extend time to file its brief [1604441-2], The following revised briefing schedule will now apply:
RESPONDENT Brief due on 04/08/2016.
PETITIONER Reply Brief due 04/29/2016.
DEFERRED APPENDIX due 05/06/2016.
Final Briefs due 05/20/2016. [15-1112, 15-1209]

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Dear CNN Unit Members,
We know it has been a long path to justice and this month we mark one year since the long awaited full NLRB decision that we hoped would bring you to justice. As you may recall in that decision 114 workers were ordered reinstated to their former jobs with full back pay; 216 workers were ordered to be made whole for losses suffered when CNN unilaterally changed their working conditions. CNN was also ordered to bargain with NABET-CWA over these matters.
Instead CNN appealed to the federal court to overturn the case. That started a process in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (where cases arising out of NLRB decisions are heard) that we expected would take a year to 18 months. A mere 2 months later, CNN filed a motion to reconsider with the NLRB. Our legal counsel is fighting that case, as well as the appeal in the courts.
In March the NLRB rejected the motion to reconsider and the process continued in the Court. We thought we were on track to get through the federal courts and about 15 months from the end of the court process. Then came July – and the Court threw out CNN’s appeal from back in September of 2014 – WHY? Because the NLRB case wasn’t final when CNN appealed – because of CNN’s motion to reconsider. We know this is outrageous – CNN caused the problem, got it thrown out and now gets to start over in the federal courts AGAIN.
But the Court won’t let the original case continue, but CNN has now re-started from scratch with their attack on the NLRB process. On August 19 th, CNN filed an outrageous attack on the workers and the process. ( They now claim that it violates CNN’s First Amendment Rights to order them to rehire and re-train the 114 people who lost their jobs; to recognize the union as the representative of the workforce at CNN; and to restore the working conditions which were unilaterally (and unlawfully) implemented.
Our legal counsel advises that we can’t change the opinion of the Court regarding this reboot, but we certainly don’t have to remain quiet about it. Our union is revamping a campaign of publicity and outreach to political figures so that CNN can’t simply get away (for 13 years so far) with union busting in secret. We will be mounting a public campaign in the coming weeks. We will be asking you to participate in public events, and to support electronic actions to get CNN to stop these delay tactics and start the process of making the workers whole – the 114 with restoring their jobs and back pay - the 216 with make whole losses - and start bargaining over the working conditions of the people who continue to work there.
Soon we will be in touch with you about the planned actions. Please pass this on to any members of the group who may not be on our email list. Please let us know your stories – of how hard it has been to wait 13 years for justice, of co-workers who have passed away waiting for justice. We want to put a human face on the cost of this delay. It isn’t just lawyers filing papers – this case is about real people who have been harmed and are tired of waiting quietly.
The process of the case moving through the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will be longer because CNN has had to refile its petition for review and added another law firm to the case.
It is a further delaying tactic. If you need more information please do not hesitate to call the union office.  We are here for you and will never stop fighting to make you whole.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.
Dr. Martin Luther King
National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians
501 Third St., NW
Washington, DC 20001

For Immediate Release: March 24, 2015            CNN Court Dates

Contact:  Kendra Marr Chaikind, kchaikind@cwa-union.org925-330-8348


NLRB Throws Out CNN’s Joint Employer Challenge


Washington, DC – The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has rejected CNN’s reconsideration motion, which challenged the ruling that the cable news giant and a unionized subcontractor Team Video Services (TVS) were joint employers.


At issue is last September’s NLRB decision ordering CNN to compensate more than 300 employees who lost jobs and wages following the company’s phony reorganization to get rid of NABET-CWA-represented workers in Washington, D.C., and New York City. The NLRB had found that CNN and TVS were joint employers and CNN violated U.S. labor law by terminating its contracting relationship with TVS in December 2003.


In the order issued on Friday, a three-member panel said CNN’s reconsideration bid, “failed to raise any substantial argument not previously considered by the Board.” They wrote, “the evidence provides ample support for the Board’s finding that CNN and TVS had a joint employer relationship at the time of the unfair labor practices.”


“This company has dragged its feet every step of the way. But after more than a decade of delays, CNN is finally running out of options,” said CWA President Larry Cohen. “It’s time for CNN to follow the law and end the enormous damage to these employees and their families.”


Meanwhile, the workers continue to wait. A number of their colleagues have passed away as this case slowly made its way through the NLRB process. Workers have lost their homes, gone bankrupt and struggled to pay their medical bills. 


“No worker should ever have to wait this long to see justice. Now again, we wait to see if CNN owns up or continues to stall. As a group we will never give up until all our members are made whole,” said Jimmy Suissa, who worked for CNN for 17 years.


In November 2008, an Administration Law Judge (ALJ) ruled in favor of NABET-CWA. The ALJ found, in part, that CNN had engaged in “widespread and egregious misconduct” and had demonstrated “a flagrant and general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights.” 


Yet, CNN appealed the ruling. Two years later, in October 2010, CWA filed another motion with the NLRB, calling on the board to give this case priority over all other pending cases. By this time the NLRB’s status was in jeopardy and was not resolved until late 2013.


Finally in September 2014, the NLRB affirmed the ALJ’s ruling. It ordered CNN to rehire about 100 workers fired in the 2003 reorganization and compensate about 200 more employees who stayed with the company without the benefits of a union contract. The order also called on CNN to resume bargaining with NABET-CWA Local 11 and NABET-CWA Local 31.  



Justice At CNN After 11 Years
CNN Decision In NABET's Favor!
The NLRB released their decision this morning in the CNN case.
A decade-long fight has been decided in the Union's favor.
Click here to see the decision. (.pdf)

NABET/ CNN Buyout Bulletin (.pdf)
CNN Members are Victims of the NLRB! (.pdf)
Ask the NLRB about CNN!
CNN NLRB Case Update, May 22, 2014

“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.

Read the full filing here.

CWA Calls for Immediate Hearing

CWA Communications
Candice Johnson, 202-434-1168
or Chuck Porcari, 202-434-1168

Further Update information on NLRB vs. CNN/Team Video:

FAQ Members want to know, what does the NLRB decision mean? Look here.

Landmark NLRB Decision Against CNN America

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.

The New York Times writes:

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


“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!


Letter to Team Video/CNN Members.

NABET-CWA Local 31 Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against CNN

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: 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
NABET-CWA Local 31
May 27, 2011
TVS/CNN Update

The former TVS employees were recently sent a letter with various attachments from Wayne Gold, the Regional Director of NLRB Region 5, along with a questionnaire concerning earnings since TVS ceased operations at CNNs Washington bureau and CNN began to self-perform that work. It is extremely important that you respond to the NLRB as completely and accurately as you are able. If you have questions about any information requested you should contact the Region 5 Compliance Office at Please mention that you are a former TVS employee at the D.C. location on the subject line of the e-mail. You can also contact Compliance Officer, Emily Hunt at 410-962-2864 or the Assistant Compliance Officer Sumintra Aumiller at 410-962-2838. If your questions are not fully answered, you can contact Local 31 counsel Brian Powers at or Keith Bolek at Please speak to the NLRB Compliance Officer first before reaching out to union counsel.

The requested information is needed to calculate the amount of backpay owed to former TVS employees covered by the decision of the Administrative Law Judge. This entitlement extends to both former TVS employees who were hired by CNN, as well as former TVS employees who were not hired by CNN. The NLRB calculates backpay by calendar quarters. It is also necessary to show that you diligently searched for work if you were unemployed, and the amounts of interim earnings received. You will also be able to document any added expenses that you incurred as the result of the actions by TVS/CNN.

I realize that the gathering of this documentation is a laborious exercise. However, it is necessary in order to place you in a position to collect what is owed to you. If you believe that you are entitled to backpay but did not receive a letter from the NLRB, please contact the NLRB Compliance Office as indicated above and explain that you were employed by TVS in December 2003 and are entitled to backpay.

It is also important to keep Local 31 and the NLRB informed of your current address and any changes to your contact information. In this regard, we ask your help to obtain current contact information (address and phone numbers) for the following: Brenda Elkins, Lori Jennings, Daniel Lopez, Thomas Tyler, Alvester Williams, Kenneth White, and Ronald Davis. Any help that you can provide to locate these individuals is greatly appreciated.

The appeal of the Administrative Law Judges decision to the five member NLRB is still pending. We continue to believe that we have a strong case and should prevail on appeal. The recent communications from the NLRB is no indication that the NLRB will soon issue its decision though we certainly hope that a decision will issue soon. By providing the requested information to the NLRB Compliance Officer, the Board will be in a position to determine backpay without undue further delay once CNNs appeals are exhausted.

While we are very disappointed with the delay that has occurred in this case, I am pleased to report that the NLRB has issued decisions in the past year that have been fair, well reasoned and without the tilt towards management that we saw during the years when President Bush appointed the members of the NLRB. This bodes well for our prospects on appeal. Your patience has been remarkable. This case has been a beacon of light to show that no matter the resources of our adversaries, our rights will be vindicated in the end.

In solidarity,
Carl Mayers

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

Jerry's website:

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.

Click here to view this news release in pdf.

CNN/Time-Warner files their opposition to Expedited Hearing Before the Board. Look here.

September 30, 2009 
TVS/CNN Members, 
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.

Bulletin to Members posted at NABET-CWA Local11 (.pdf)

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 The local unions can file exceptions with the NLRB. 

CNN's Lou Dobbs Peddles Lies and Anti-Union Propaganda:

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:

  1. Reinstatement and full back pay for more than 110 employees.  Training for those rehired, if necessary.
  2. Recognition of the unions in New York and DC.
  3. Dues to be remitted to the unions for those who were on check off at the time the contracts were cancelled.
  4. Rescind, upon request, any departures from the collective bargaining agreements that occurred when the work was taken in-house.
  5. Restore any bargaining work that has been outsourced since the end of the Team video contracts.
  6. Posting of a notice at the two bureaus and the mailing of the notices to all employees at last known addresses who were part of the bargaining units when the contract was cancelled.
  7. A “cease and desist order” to prohibit CNN from infringing on workers’ rights under labor law in the future.

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:

Northland Poster

"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.