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Workers OK Deal to End KMEX Strike

November 16, 2000|NANCY CLEELAND | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Workers ended their three-week strike against Spanish-language television station KMEX on Wednesday after ratifying a deal brokered by the County Federation of Labor's secretary-treasurer, Miguel Contreras.

The four-year contract was agreed to after a marathon 15-hour negotiating session between station managers and the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, Local 53, which represents about 100 producers, editors, camera operators and others.

Contreras, who was asked by both sides to help break an impasse in the bitter strike, was also at the table.

The deal includes 20% across-the-board raises and a $400-per-employee signing bonus. The most contentious issue for both sides, however, involved jurisdiction over equipment.

The station wanted the flexibility to use nonunion workers to help run new digital-based technology, but union members--who have worked with tape--wanted exclusive rights to run equipment.

Both sides eventually agreed that "primary work" would be done by union members, while "incidental work" could be performed by others.

"I still don't think it was a fair deal, but it's good enough to get everyone back to work," said Leroy Jackson, a 13-year KMEX employee and a member of the negotiating team.

KMEX, which airs on Channel 34, issued a statement that called the contract "mutually beneficial."

"Both parties look forward to continue working together and renew their long-standing relationship," the statement said.

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