NLRB Throws Out CNN's Joint Employer Challenge
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has rejected a motion by CNN asking the board to reconsider a ruling that the cable news giant and Team Video Services (TVS), a unionized subcontractor, were joint employers.
At issue is last September's NLRB decision ordering CNN to compensate more than 300 employees who lost jobs and wages following the company's phony reorganization to get rid of NABET-CWA-represented workers in Washington, D.C., and New York City. The NLRB had found that CNN and TVS were joint employers and CNN violated U.S. labor law by terminating its contracting relationship with TVS in December 2003.
In the order issued on March 20, a three-member panel said CNN's reconsideration bid, "failed to raise any substantial argument not previously considered by the Board." They wrote, "The evidence provides ample support for the Board's finding that CNN and TVS had a joint employer relationship at the time of the unfair labor practices."
"This company has dragged its feet every step of the way. But after more than a decade of delays, CNN is finally running out of options," said CWA President Larry Cohen. "It's time for CNN to follow the law and end the enormous damage to these employees and their families."
Meanwhile, the workers continue to wait. A number of their colleagues have passed away as this case slowly made its way through the NLRB process. Workers have lost their homes, gone bankrupt and struggled to pay their medical bills.
"No worker should ever have to wait this long to see justice. Now again, we wait to see if CNN owns up or continues to stall. As a group we will never give up until all our members are made whole," said Jimmy Suissa, who worked for CNN for 17 years.
In November 2008, an Administration Law Judge (ALJ) ruled in favor of NABET-CWA. The ALJ found, in part, that CNN had engaged in "widespread and egregious misconduct" and had demonstrated "a flagrant and general disregard for the employees' fundamental rights."
CNN appealed the ruling. Two years later, in October 2010, CWA filed another motion with the NLRB, calling on the board to give this case priority over all other pending cases. By this time the NLRB's status was in jeopardy and was not resolved until late 2013.
Finally, in September 2014, the NLRB affirmed the ALJ's ruling. It ordered CNN to rehire about 100 workers fired in the 2003 reorganization and compensate about 200 more employees who stayed with the company without the benefits of a union contract. The order also called on CNN to resume bargaining with NABET-CWA Local 11 and NABET-CWA Local 31.