Workers at WGBH reject contract offer

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / March 14, 2011

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The largest union at WGBH voted yesterday to reject what the Boston public broadcaster’s management called its final contract offer.

The Association of Employees of the Educational Foundation, Communications Workers of America, Local 1300, which represents 280 WGBH writers, editors, production workers, and marketing employees, rejected management’s proposed three-year contract.

The final vote: 188 against the proposal, 15 in favor of it.

“This vote clearly demonstrates that our union is of one voice that WGBH’s final contract is unacceptable,’’ said the union’s president, Jordan Weinstein, WGBH’s local host of the public radio program “All Things Considered.’’

“Our goal now,’’ he said, “is to return to the bargaining table, armed with a unified repudiation of management’s proposal, to continue bargaining over fair working conditions as part of a mutually acceptable contract.’’

Jeanne Hopkins, vice president of communications at WGBH, said, “It’s unfortunate that the union has voted not to accept WGBH’s offer, which maintains wage increases, offers employees flexibility to grow, and generous benefits at a difficult economic time.’’

The union and WGBH management have been in negotiations since August.

WGBH officials are seeking concessions that include allowing them to assign employees to work across various platforms, including radio, television, and the Web, and outsourcing work without having to negotiate over such decisions.

Union officials have been fighting management on the proposed provisions for outsourcing and for allowing the termination of on-air talent without cause.

Hopkins said that if the union requests a meeting before tomorrow to respond to the management offer, WGBH officials would agree to meet. If there is no communication from the union, they would have reached an impasse and management can begin imposing terms of its final contract, beginning tomorrow.

The union and the labor rights group Massachusetts Jobs with Justice are planning a rally at 4 p.m. tomorrow in front of WGBH to protest the terms of the management offer.

Johnny Diaz can be reached at