BURBANK, CALIF., OCT. 24 -- A bitter 118-day strike against NBC ended today when two holdout units representing about 50 members of a broadcaster workers' union voted to accept the network's final contract offer.
Picket lines around the nation were pulled about 3 p.m. after members of the units approved the contract on a second vote, according to Carrie Biggs-Adams, president of Local 53 of the National Association of Broadcast Employees.
However, it was unclear when the union's 2,800 employes would return to work at NBC, which has 10 days to notify workers when they will be needed, she said.
Twelve of the union's units voted earlier this month to end the strike, but couriers in Chicago and air conditioning and building maintenance workers in Burbank rejected their contracts. Union rules state that all units must accept a contract before returning to work.
In New York, NBC spokeswoman McClain Ramsey said, "We are
very pleased that this long strike is over.
"Details on when our NABET employes will return and when those non-represented employes who have been working on new assignments during the strike can return to their regular jobs are being worked out now."
But Biggs-Adams said few workers are pleased with the three-year agreement, and exhaustion played a role in ending a walkout that cost the union $700,000 a month in strike benefits.
"After 118 days, people tend to get tired," she said. "It's very, very hard to go so long without income."
Today's vote on the contract offer was ordered by James P. Nolan, president of the NABET international unit, following discussions Friday between NBC and union representatives, Biggs-Adams said.
The Burbank unit approved the contract 8 to 6, she said. The vote in Chicago was 18 to 2, said Kal Hassan, a member of the unit's strike committee.
The Burbank unit, which represented 27 air conditioning workers, issued a statement accusing NBC of "intransigent and irrational refusal to bargain even on issues of safety."
The union struck June 29 after NBC unilaterally imposed a contract. NABET said it would have allowed the network to hire more day-to-day workers instead of assigning full-time NABET employes.