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February 15, 2006

NCI fires entire union work force in Burbank office

From: - Feb 15, 2006

Work has been outsourced to other locations


HOLLYWOOD -- The National Captioning Institute has fired the entire union work force of 16 captioning editors at its Burbank office following a lengthy battle over a new contract.

The editors and supporters picketed the Burbank offices Wednesday. Their union, Local 53 of the National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians -- Communications Workers of America, has filed unfair labor practice charges with the Natl. Labor Relations Board against NCI for alleged bad-faith bargaining.

NCI, based in Vienna, Va., refused to comment about the firings or the charges filed with the NLRB. Nonprofit org, which also has offices in Dallas and London, launched closed-captioning services in 1980.

Local 53 president Leroy Jackson said NCI took an aggressive tack when negotiations began last spring to replace the previous contract. He said company proposals included wage freezes, tripling and quadrupling of production expectations and wage concessions amounting to 58% of salary.

The editors were fired Jan. 31 after refusing NCI's "last, best and final" offer. Jackson said the work in the Burbank office has been outsourced to other locations. He also said NCI had singled out the workers in Burbank to absorb the impact of companywide problems.

"As a result we offered the logical and fair suggestion to spread any pain of corporate woes across all employees of NCI, not just our union workers in Burbank," he added. "The company responded that it would be too painful for Dallas and Virginia employees to absorb. Clearly, it must be too painful for overcompensated officers to absorb.

© 2006 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.