NEW YORK — The union representing 2,800 striking NBC technicians and news staffers said Saturday that it will send the company a "clarified" strike settlement proposal, even though NBC says its settlement offer is final.
If NBC accepts it, added union spokesman John Krieger, there could be a membership vote "within a week or 10 days" on both the strike settlement agreement and the company's final contract offer. Although the union dislikes that contract proposal, it is not now seeking changes in it.
A positive vote on both issues could end the longest walkout in NBC history. The strike began June 29 when members of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians walked off their jobs.
'Depends on Membership'
"I don't want to raise any false hopes," Krieger cautioned in a phone interview from union headquarters in Bethesda, Md. "It still depends on the membership vote."
Day Krolik III, NBC's chief negotiator, was not immediately available for comment. But in an interview earlier Saturday, he said NBC had given the union its "final version" of the company's proposed strike settlement.
Each spoke after three days of federally mediated talks in Washington broke off late Friday night. Krolik accused union officials of walking out. The union denied this, saying it had wanted to resume talks Saturday.
Neither side was still negotiating NBC's latest contract offer, which would not be retroactive to the start of the strike. It would go into effect immediately after ratification by union members and expire March 31, 1990.
Key issues in the contract dispute have been company proposals on so-called "daily hires" and jurisdiction.
The Friday night haggling involved a separate but related strike agreement the union says would have to be voted on by the membership in addition to NBC's contract offer. A key issue in the settlement agreement is NBC's proposal that it be allowed to discipline a number of strikers for offenses allegedly committed against non-striking employees or the company.
The number also is in dispute. Krolik said NBC wants to discipline about 30 strikers. The union says 55 is the correct figure.
When NBC made its strike settlement offer late Friday, Krieger said, the union told the company, through a federal mediator, that it wanted to recess for the night, review the offer and meet again with the company Saturday.
Union officials showed up then, he said, but not those of NBC.
"We had no meeting scheduled with them," Krolik said. "I never heard they were waiting for us, either" on Saturday.
Krieger said NBC's offer was ambiguous on some points. The union's negotiators have since looked at it and made what they think are the needed clarifications, he added. Now, he said, NABET plans to send the "clarified" agreement to the company "either through the mediator or by messenger."
Krieger said he didn't know how quickly that could be done. NBC's New York headquarters will be closed Monday, as will many corporations and state offices, in observance of Columbus Day.
However, he said, if Krolik "accepts what we have presented . . . then that would go to the membership for a vote."
According to union officials, a total of 15 separate contracts are contained in the so-called "master agreement" proposed by NBC. Each contract would have to be ratified, or the strike would continue until that contract is satisfactorily settled.