CNN’s Anti-Worker Villainy Rolls On With Another Appeal After Two Losses In Court!

CNN SUCKS
It’s the court case that just won’t die. After ten loooooooong years of fighting within the confines of the legal system, my former employer CNN got their asses kicked. That’s two losses in court but they still will not face the music and do the right thing by their former employees. The results included back pay and reinstatement. Now, my union has called for a rally outside their offices in NYC. Since I live in NC now, I’m gonna miss it. But it would be an IMMENSE help for anyone who believes in worker’s rights and just a fundamental law-abiding lifestyle to share this post around the internet. The more press this gets, the higher the probability that these wrongs get righted. Details below…

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A ruling of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) earlier (last) week ordered CNN to reinstate more than 100 unionized contract TV workers who lost their jobs in a 2003 restructuring of the 24-7 network — as well as to compensate hundreds of workers who lost pay as a result of the upheaval.

CNN, as it turns out, isn’t too eager to do those things. It has sought review of the NLRB decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Asked for comment on the petition, which doesn’t lay out its appeal arguments, a CNN spokeswoman replied: “CNN disagrees with the NLRB decision and we have filed an appeal in the DC Circuit Court of Appeals.”

The move allows CNN to at least delay the rather immediate impact of the NLRB order, which gave it just 14 days to offer employment to the 100-plus former contractors who’d lost their jobs. It also ordered CNN to cover the lost earnings and benefits of those former contractors as well as the ones it eventually hired as full-time CNN staffers. The workers in question were employees of an outfit known as Team Video Services (TVS), whose primary purpose in the world was to provide the technical muscle for the news gathering activities of CNN’s New York and Washington bureaus. Employees at TVS were represented by the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA).

CNN’s appeal disappointed NABET-CWA President Jim Joyce: “We had hoped that CNN now, after getting two significant findings, would do the right thing,” noted Joyce, referring to this week’s NLRB decision as well as a 2008 ruling by an administrative law judge whose conclusions were supported by the board.

The decision by CNN to rid itself of the unionized contract workers came in 2003. A press release called TVS “a fine company that had done an excellent job running its business and meeting the needs of CNN.” Yet CNN wanted something different, something non-unionized. An “antiunion animus,” noted the NLRB, motivated the reorganization plan. After ending its contracts with TVS, CNN indeed went on a recruitment spree, hiring back some of the TVS workers and other applicants to work in-house at CNN, without union representation.

That all sounds abstract. The NLRB decision, however, contains salary numbers that reveal how CNN saved itself some employee overhead in the switchover. The dismissed TVS employees that CNN hired as in-house workers, it notes, earned $3,000 to $30,000 less than they’d pulled in their new positions. Some examples: Onetime TVS White
House field technician David Bacheler got a slot at CNN as a “senior photojournalist studio operator” with a pay cut of $10,000 to $30,000. Stacy Leitner, who was a studio technician under TVS, became a media coordinator with a pay cut of $5,000.

Here’s a list of things that these employees lost once they left their unionized workplace: “CNN eliminated bargaining unit employees’ contractual premiums, including meal penalties, paid lunch hours, holiday pay, and doubletime pay after working 7 consecutive days. CNN also changed the unit employees’ leave benefits by replacing TVS’ policy of carried-over annual and sick with a use-it-or-lose-it-within-28-days sick and personal leave policy,” notes the NLRB ruling.

At its crux, the NLRB ruling holds that CNN operated a joint employment arrangement with TVS in supervising the workers. CNN big-footed TVS on the workers’ terms of employment, including “staffing levels, wages, hours, overtime, and training,
among other things,” argues the majority decision signed by NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce and member Kent Y. Hirozawa. In a dissent, NLRB member Philip A. Miscimarra challenged the joint-employer finding, arguing that CNN didn’t have “any direct and immediate control over the TVS employees’ terms and conditions of employment.”

Joyce says that while CNN seeks another hearing of its case, the back-pay liabilities will continue to pile up. The case has stretched out over 11 years, after all, and “some of these people are each due several hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Joyce. “This gets CNN more firmly entrenched in terms of how much money they’re going to have to shell out.”

Eric Wemple – Washington Post

My email from the union:

Dear NABET-CWA Local 11 members,

Please join your CWA brothers and sisters for a very important rally on Friday, September 26th, 4:30-6pm, at CNN’s New York Headquarters, on 58th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues, to let CNN know that this is not over. We are not going to stop until justice is done. We want to get this story in the press while it is hot. We want to hear your stories! Tee shirts and whistles will be provided.

Thomas A. Cappo

President

NABET-CWA Local 11

New York City

212-757-3065

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Book Review: ‘The Sex Lives Of Cannibals’

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Still no real job, but I’ve been writing for a website called “NerdBastards.com.” Check me out there. Now…the review!

One would think that “The Sex Lives of Cannibals” was a psychological reference book about the libidinous habits of Hannibal Lector and friends. Actually, it refers to the historical beginnings of the peoples on a remote Pacific island called Tarawa. The ancesters of those native to the atoll apparently lost their men to invading cannibals who went on to procreate with their women through force, creating a non-descript race of islanders. Not exactly what immediately comes to mind upon reading the title of J. Maarten Troost’s first novel, a true story about his two year adventure on a small piece of land in the middle of the an endless bowl of water.

It all begins with Troost’s lethargic approach toward his job. He’s fed up with it. When his girlfriend Silvia is given the opportunity to work in a program designed to benefit the health and environment of the Gilbert Islands, Troost joins the unemployed and goes with her. Thus begins their whirlwind island lifestyle amid searing heat, lackluster living conditions, consistent health problems and just overall doing without. Many of their trials are humiliating, frustrating, inhuman and sad.

Tarawa has no waste disposal system so people relieve themselves in the ocean. Refuse piles up along its narrow roads and beaches, ignored. The author’s cement, vermin-infested dwelling place is considered prime living compared to the thatched homes of the natives. Other countries bully them, depleting their only revenue of tuna by greedily fishing in Tarawa’s coveted waters. They have no working fire trucks, have to use sticks instead of toilet paper and four hours of electricity isn’t only a rare gift, but a pleasant surprise. Dogs are disease-ridden predators that prowl in huge packs, eating their own in sheer desperation. The daily menu is fish, fish and more fish. Boil your water and you might just go a day without parasites polluting your insides. These are the things poor city-dwellers Maarten and Silvia dealt with on a daily basis from the moment they stepped off the rickety plane that had to abort its first landing because pigs were on the runway.

The best way to experience the hardships of others is to walk around in their shoes. Troost did this with reluctant gusto and there’s a feeling of dread in every chapter that most of us can’t identify with. The descriptions are harrowing, from Tarawa’s ridiculous do-nothing government to the I-Kiribati’s (pronounced Kee-ree-bas) unusual preoccupation with the song “Macarena.” The people seem amicable enough, just dealing with the cards fate dealt them in that laid-back island way. Most of them don’t know what it’s like to have a vcr or to use a toilet or have air conditioning. They don’t steal, preferring to rely on the “bubuti” system of just saying, “I bubuti you for your shirt,” or “I bubuti you for bus fare.” It sounds like an agreeable way of life at first, but it’s also a good way to go broke. Luckily(?) most of the people don’t have much anyway.

That’s just one example of Troost’s depiction of his own culture shock after settling in Tarawa. He goes on to show us much, much more. And he does it in a funny, clever prose that sometimes veers off into rambling or preaching. He benefits from his time away from the states, even when he complains of being harassed by drunken villagers. The only real drawback of the piece is the lack of personality or character in his wife-to-be, Silvia. Wasn’t she the reason they were there in the first place? Troost mostly writes about the heinous living conditions and his interactions with the I-Kiribati. Silvia is often ignored and gives very little to the experience. But that can be ovthose people have experienced enough as it is.