CNN to pay its videographers over R1 billion in back pay

The settlement amount is the largest monetary remedy in the history of the NLRB.

CNN has agreed to pay a settlement of $76 million (approximately R1.1 billion) to resolve a dispute over back pay with more than 300 individuals who provided video services to the news network. This was recently announced by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which added that it was the largest monetary remedy in its history.

Established in 1935, the NLRB is an independent federal agency that protects employees, employers, and unions from unfair labour practices and protects the right of private-sector employees to join together, with or without a union, to improve wages, benefits and working conditions. 

The dispute itself originated in 2003 when CNN terminated a contract with Team Video Services (TVS), a company that had been providing CNN video services in Washington, D.C, and New York City. 

“After terminating the contract, CNN hired new employees to perform the same work without recognising or bargaining with the two unions that had represented the TVS employees. CNN sought to operate as a nonunion workplace and conveyed to the workers that their prior employment with TVS and union affiliation disqualified them from employment,” reads the NLRB announcement

After a lengthy hearing in 2008, an administrative law judge found that CNN’s actions violated the National Labor Relations Act. The negotiations over the amount of back pay owed to those videographers began in 2014 and it is only now that the matter appears to have been resolved.