NEW YORK — Union officials said Friday that efforts will be made Monday to negotiate two local disputes that have delayed the end of a 16 1/2-week strike by 2,800 NBC employes.
The National Assn. of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians had offered Thursday to send its members back to work, starting today, while the remaining contract issues in Burbank and Chicago were negotiated.
But NBC rejected the offer after the union refused to grant a waiver of a contract provision allowing NABET members to honor legitimate picket lines without disciplinary action. The union said it wanted to retain that provision in case negotiations to settle the two local disputes failed and the dissenting units went back on strike.
Twelve of the 14 NABET units that are involved in the NBC strike voted last week to accept the network's contract offer. Under union bylaws, however, all units must ratify the contract or all stay on strike.
The holdouts are a 27-member air-conditioning and plant maintenance unit in Burbank and a 20-member unit in Chicago whose members work as part-time couriers. All but five in the courier unit are Chicago police officers working during their off-duty hours.
The Burbank unit rejected NBC's offer 11 to 8, while the Chicago unit rejected it by a 17-1 vote.
Chuck Klein, a spokesman for NABET Local 53 in Burbank, said a federally mediated negotiating session with NBC will be held in Los Angeles Monday to attempt to resolve the Burbank impasse.
The union is seeking a "language change" in NBC's offer, he said. The change would give members of the unit first crack at electrical repair work that NBC previously has given to outside firms.
The impasse in Chicago, said union official Dick Beidel of Local 41 there, is over a change in payment of so-called "penalties," or extra pay, to couriers called in after midnight. They want to be reimbursed when they use their personal cars.
Beidel said he is trying to arrange a federally mediated negotiating session with NBC for Monday, "although I'm willing to have it tonight or over the weekend if they are."
NBC officials here weren't immediately available for comment on whether company negotiators would be on hand in Chicago on Monday.
The delay in ending the union's strike has frustrated many on the picket line who thought they'd be back at work by Saturday. "It's lunacy," one striker here said Friday of the two units holding up ratification of NBC's contract offer. "What they're hurting is the rest of us. . . . We're being held hostage."
But another striker in Burbank, a strong supporter of the union, was moderate in his assessment of the situation. "I realize that there are two different groups (in the union) for and against them," he said. "But most of the guys I'm talking to are glad they (the two units) are holding out. They're saying, 'More power to 'em.' "