The leadership of the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians, their union locked in a 16-week-long strike against NBC, has now recommended that members reject a contract offer and terms of a proposed settlement from the network, which union members are voting on this week ...

After three days of negotiation last week the union Sunday had agreed to submit the latest NBC proposal to the membership for a vote, but without a recommendation on how to vote ...

The vote is to be completed by the 15 NABET units around the country by Sunday, with the results to be announced next Monday ...

But in a statement mailed yesterday to the 2,800 members striking NBC, the NABET-NBC negotiating committee said it "has voted to bring the current contract offer and the proposed strike settlement agreement to the membership for a vote ...

"We ask that you vote to reject both. For every member's sake, we hope you will reject it ...

"This recommendation is based on the many damaging items in both documents. We urge you to study the proposal and strike settlement and the negative impact it will have on you and your coworkers" ...

One of the six-member negotiating committee, reportedly the representative of the big New York local, abstained from the recommendation to reject the NBC offer ...

A three-page document, spelling out "the many damaging items," accompanied the letter to the strikers ...

Among the complaints, NABET negotiators charged that the NBC offer made serious inroads on many jurisdictional issues important to the union, such as allowing the network to use coverage from Cable News Network, previously banned, once the contract is signed. In areas outside the reach of the network's owned-and-operated stations, NBC could also use coverage from nonaffiliated stations for the first time, and non-NABET employes, under the new pact, could be used on computer operations ...

The negotiating committee also pointed out that in the settlement letter, NBC had refused to grant total amnesty to strikers facing possible disciplinary action and extended credit for seniority during the period of the strike only to regular employes, excluding temporary or vacation-relief employes ...

The precise impact of the adverse recommendation could not be judged immediately. It is believed that the Washington, New York and Chicago locals favor a settlement but that the Burbank, Calif., local, important to NBC's West Coast operation, is opposed ...

The 2,800 strikers -- about 300 of them at the NBC News bureau here -- include camerapersons, writers, editors and other technicians. They have been on strike since June 29, with network management personnel filling in on key jobs in the interim. Until Sunday's action, NABET leadership had refused to let the membership vote on any NBC contract proposal since the previous contract expired March 31 ...

Despite the change in signals yesterday from the NABET negotiating committee, NBC spokesman McClain Ramsey reiterated the network's reaction to the union decision to let the membership vote on last week's proposals ...

"Our position," said Ramsey, "is still that we think the contract is fair and balanced and we hope that the membership, when they get a look at it themselves, will agree with us and ratify it" ...

As reported yesterday, in its latest offer NBC, which had wanted a two-year contract, agreed to a 29-month contract that would end March 31, 1990, guaranteeing a pay raise of 3.68 percent the first year, 4.64 percent the second plus a lump sum payment of 3 percent of the current base pay on April 1, 1990 ...

NBC also proposed to limit temporary employe hires to 4 percent of all actual employes in any NABET unit the first year and a cap of 6 percent the second year, while agreeing to a quarterly review of how the system is working ...

The daily hires -- who are represented by NABET -- would receive an additional 30 percent in pay, since they would not be eligible for most regular benefits. However, NBC has agreed to look into pension and other benefits for the temporary employes ...

The hires issue -- a key point in union bargaining tactics -- affects all NBC engineering employes as well as news writers and producers in New York, Chicago and L.A. The proposed contract would also bar two-tier pay scales at both the Washington and Cleveland NBC bureaus ...

Also in the News

It wasn't much of a game, but the Washington Redskins-New York Giants NFL matchup Sunday nevertheless attracted a 28.4 Nielsen rating and a 52 percent audience share on Channel 9 twixt 4 and 7:05 p.m. (each rating point represents about 15,800 TV homes locally) ...

Also on Sunday in this market, the debut of Fox Broadcasting's new sitcom, "Women in Prison," on Channel 5 did a 14.2/22 at 8:30, finishing only behind the second half of Channel 9's "Murder, She Wrote" in that time period and ahead of baseball on WRC and "Spenser: For Hire" on WJLA ...

Walter Cronkite said yesterday that he would have fired Dan Rather for walking off the set of a CBS newscast the day the network's U.S. Open tennis coverage ran long, forcing the network to go black for six minutes ...

"I can answer that {question} in five words: I would have fired him. There's no excuse for it," Cronkite, who previously had refused to comment on the Sept. 11 incident, told the University of Texas' student newspaper, The Daily Texan.

However, at a later appearance at the Headliners Club in Austin, Cronkite tempered his remarks ...

"I thought about that after I spurted that out, out there today," he said. "I don't know what I would have done. My first inclination would be to fire him, but I would have put a lot of other things into the mix before I would have taken that drastic action" ...

Tom Goodman, a CBS News spokesman, said yesterday, "Walter's remarks do not reflect the position of CBS News and we disagree with them" ...

Note to Anxious Caller: As Captain Airwaves first reported May 15, CBS is bringing back "Simon & Simon" as a midseason replacement with an order for 13 episodes ...

Channel 9 has announced the first annual One & Only 9 Awards for Community Service ... "designed to recognize and reward nine outstanding volunteers of our community, those unsung heroes who give of themselves unselfishly to build a better community for us all" ...

A panel of 25 civic leaders has been chosen to select the nine winners, who will be honored at a black-tie banquet at the Omni Shoreham Hotel on Jan. 13 -- an event that will be televised live on the one and only Channel 9 ...

The hour-long broadcast will include profiles of each winner. Each winner will receive a $1,500 honorarium, $1,000 of which will be donated to the charity of his or her choice ...

According to the station, nominations can be submitted by self, individual or organization. Nomination forms can be obtained by writing to One & Only 9 Awards, WUSA, 4001 Brandywine St. NW., Washington, D.C. 20016. Completed forms must be returned to WUSA, postmarked no later than Oct. 31 ...

Eligible are "those individuals who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to the community through voluntary humanitarian service and must be someone who has not been recognized previously for his/her efforts" ...

ABC, rapidly becoming the single-father network, has ordered six episodes of "The Pursuit of Happiness," another one of those sitcoms like its "I Married Dora" and "Full House" and NBC's "My Two Duds," er, "Dads" ...

This could be an early replacement for "Max Headroom," who, despite G.B. Trudeau, is high on the cancellation list after season-premiering three weeks ago in 52nd place in the weekly rankings then dropping to 66th and then 72nd (and from a low premiere high of 7.7/14 to a third week 6.4/11) ...

In "Pursuit of Happiness" (well, it's supposed to take place in Philadelphia, for gosh sakes) Brian Keith stars as a history professor who is raising his daughter, played by Judie Aronson. Paul Provenza plays a young teaching associate. And, demonstrating ABC's early faith in the strength of the concept, they've already signed L.A. Laker Magic Johnson to appear as himself in three episodes ...

When Fox Broadcasting's restructured "The Late Show" (two hosts, a supporting cast of players) debuts Nov. 30, WTTG here will move "A Current Affair" from midnight to 11 p.m., with "Late Show" at 11:30 ...