The union representing news writers and assistant producers at WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM said Wednesday it has ratified a three-year contract that provides substantial wage hikes for its lowest paid members.
The agreement calls for 2% annual wage increases, and assistant producers at WBBM will get raises in the first year of from 15% to 19%, said a statement from the Writers Guilds of America, East and West. The contract also covers employees at radio stations WCBS in New York and KNX in Los Angeles.
Entercom Communications owns the CBS-affiliated stations, among its more than 230 radio outlets. The company had no immediate comment.
Sixty-five employees unanimously ratified the agreement, the unions said. Nearly 30 of them are at WBBM.
Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “This contract was won with incredible solidarity across three geographically separate stations. Together, we were able to secure a contract that makes significant financial gains and guarantees important workplace protections.”
Peterson cited strong support from other broadcast unions and the Chicago Federation of Labor, which is an investor in Sun-Times Media. The NFL Players Association voiced its support for the Entercom workers, who used that as leverage against management. WBBM carries Chicago Bears games, and Entercom stations broadcast the New York Giants.
The new contract gives WBBM assistant producers two additional holidays paid at double time and it provides temporary hires can enroll in health insurance and retirement plans. The raises are retroactive to April 6.
Some workers who were earning no more than Chicago’s minimum wage of $13 per hour will get the largest percentage increases, the unions said.