B U L L E T I N
NETWORK RELEASE &
DISASTER RECOVERY CONSOLIDATION
New York and Los Angeles
September 1, 2020
We want to update you on the status of Disney/ABC’s announced plans to shut down Network Release and Disaster Recovery operations in New York and Los Angeles, as it pertains to NABET-CWA members.
As you are aware, on March 5, 2020, NABET-CWA was informed by ABC Labor Relations that Network Release and Disaster Recovery Operations were going to be moved to The Woodlands, Texas and consolidated with other Disney Media Network distribution operations. ABC announced that their intent with this move was to eliminate NABET-CWA members from performing this work by December 21, 2020 in New York, and by March 5, 2021 on the Prospect Lot in Los Angeles. ABC further announced that such intent would eventually result in the elimination of staff and daily hire Network Release, Disaster Recovery, Traffic, Videotape/Media Operations, Master Control, SMAG, Maintenance, and Network Control Center positions affecting up to 158 members in New York and Los Angeles. While staff would be offered Voluntary Separation Packages (i.e. buyouts), ABC might involuntarily layoff any staff not accepting the buyout. Further, most daily hires would eventually be laid off involuntarily. Combined, the result of ABC’s announced actions makes this situation one of the most impactful business decisions ever in the more than seventy-year history between the Company and the Union.
With that in mind, NABET-CWA Sector and Local leadership has diligently undertaken the Union’s response to this matter given the impact upon each of you. That response included holding a March 12, 2020 meeting with the Company, within days of the March 5 announcement. At that meeting, introductory discussions took place which included the decision to move this work in the first place, the decisions regarding the compilation of operating groups for the purposes of consolidation, the decision to offer retention pay to daily hires, and other decisions regarding staff employees.
On March 16, 2020, within four days of that meeting, and in conjunction with the advice of legal counsel representing the Sector and the Locals, the Union delivered a formal twenty-nine-point information request to ABC, inquiring about many aspects of this decision. ABC provided the Union with some of the requested information on May 12.
Since May 12, the Union has reviewed the answers ABC did provide, and reviewed our interpretations of the pertinent sections of the Contract. Again, in conjunction with the advice of Sector and Local legal counsel, the Union filed a Multi-City Grievance (#AIO 20-02) which included alleging a violation of the Transfer of Work provisions of the Master Agreement. The Company has been in receipt of this Grievance since June 25, and the Union is prepared to arbitrate this matter if necessary.
But most importantly, NABET-CWA and ABC have met for the better part of five days during July and August. These meeting have been held partially in person and partially via video conference, in order to foster thorough communication during these discussions. Our next round of meetings is scheduled to be held in two weeks. We will continue to discuss severance pay for staff, retention pay for daily hires, and remaining work opportunities for ‘A’ and ‘B’ Unit employees after the move to The Woodlands is complete.
As stated above, NABET-CWA is undertaking this matter with the utmost diligence. We understand the stress and uncertainty you might be experiencing. In fact, six members of the Union’s Committee are directly impacted by this decision. Our goal is to achieve the best outcome for all involved while protecting the legal and contractual rights of the Union and our members. However, successful collective bargaining requires the mutual commitment of ABC as well. We believe that you, many of whom have faithfully served ABC-TV for decades, even throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, are more than due that commitment from the Company
Thank you for taking the time to stay informed by reading this bulletin. We will update you on future developments as soon as possible.
The NABET-CWA Committee: Sector President Charles Braico, Sector General Counsel Judiann Chartier, Esq.; Local 16 President, Arthur Mazzacca, Local 16 Vice President Bill Bores, Local 16 Assistant to the President Jim Nolan, Local 16 Executive Board Representatives Jim Joyce and Steve Francis, Local 16 NYTO/NAC Shop Steward Mark Albin and Local 16 Legal Counsel William Schimmel, Esq.; Local 31 President Bob Williams, Local 31 Vice President Bantu Opiotennionde, and Local 31 Treasurer Carl Mayers; Local 41 President Chris Willadsen; Local 51 President Carrie Biggs-Adams and Local 51 Steward Greg Dolphin.