NPR Notes for E-Board Meeting, 3/9/09:
Five days before the opening session of bargaining was scheduled to be held, NPR unilaterally cancelled the first week of bargaining, and suggested that it hopes to be prepared to meet for negotiations on Wednesday, March 18, 2009. In its letter of cancellation to the Union, NPR stated, “We've been spending time trying to understand the implications of the economic crisis. As a result, we won't be ready to begin negotiations next week. As a result, we won't be ready to begin negotiations next week.” The current NPR-NABET contract is set to expire on March 31, 2009… The negotiating committee has completed its first survey of the membership regarding a host of issues related to bargaining. The answers provided a good foundation for further discussion and focusing on specific issues heading into negotiations… NABET has informed NPR that it intends to have NABET members sit in on negotiations to observe and assist the NABET bargaining committee as requested… NPR’s Executive Vice President for News recently posted a memo that, in essence, requires that virtually all production staff be prepared to self-operate recording facilities before the end of March. It is unknown at this moment what the link is between this order and the expiration of the NABET contract… It has come to NABET’s attention that some reporters and producers are teaming up in “solo” production rooms to do production work, with one serving as the interviewer and the other serving as the “engineer.” As most of these employees are paid more than NPR engineers, this would seem to directly defeat the reduced usage of audio engineers as a means to lower costs, as this reporter/producer combo would cost more on an hourly basis than an engineer working with a producer or reporter.