Saturday, January 25, 2020

CNN pays out record $76 million to settle union-busting case. (Washington Examiner)

CNN has paid out a record settlement to settle a National Labor Relations Board case.  When I was riding circuit, representing employees, I inked a few of these, but CNN's behavior in this case is worthy of condemnation.  Three cheers for NABET, CWA and NLRB.

From The Washington Examiner:

CNN pays out record $76 million to settle union-busting case

Earns Time Warner
A billboard for CNN is shown Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 in New York. Time Warner, which owns CNN, says it reversed its losses in the fourth quarter, as its cable channels and movie studio boosted revenue. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
CNN agreed to pay out $76 million in back pay to settle a lawsuit that alleged union busting by the cable network after it fired 200 camera operators rather than dealing with the union that claimed to represent them.
The National Labor Relations Board, the main federal labor law enforcement agency, announced the settlement Friday. The case is the single largest monetary settlement in the agency's history. 
The case dates back to 2003, when CNN canceled a contract with a company called Team Video Services, whose workers were members of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians and the Communications Workers of America. 
The workers alleged that the contract was canceled because of the union connection, and the agency agreed. "CNN sought to operate as a nonunion workplace and conveyed to the workers that their prior employment with TVS and union affiliation disqualified them from employment," the agency said.
“After more than 15 years, this settlement agreement finally delivers justice for workers who experienced serious hardship in their lives due to CNN’s union-busting practices,” said NABET-CWA President Charlie Braico
CNN argued it was never the camera operators' employer but rather that it merely contracted with the company that was. The NLRB ruled against CNN in 2014, and a federal appeals court affirmed the ruling in 2017, calling CNN the camera operators' "successor employer."
The settlement amount in the case is more than what the NLRB collects in a typical year.
The case turned on the question of whether a company that contracts with another can be held liable for the latter's employment policies, a legal doctrine known as "joint employer." Traditionally, federal labor law says they can, if they have "direct control" over the workplaces. 
Joint employer became a hot issue under President Barack Obama when his administration attempted to expand the definition to the much vaguer standard of "indirect control." The Trump administration has since moved to roll back the legal standard.
A representative of CNN could not be reached for comment.

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