CNN has agreed to pay over $76 million in back pay to over 300 former subcontractors they fired in 2003.
CNN replaced the fired subcontractors with new non-union employee who did the same thing.
Variety reports CNN has agreed to pay $76 million to settle a back pay case involving union workers that marks the largest “monetary remedy” in the 85-year history of National Labor Relations Board.
The dispute began in 2003 when CNN fired a group of unionized subcontractors working as video technicians and in other technical and support roles.
The cabler then hired new, non-union employees for most of the same functions. That sparked a trail of litigation with National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians and Communications Workers of America, that has been winding through federal adjudication for more than a decade. The NLRB is the federal agency designed to protect the rights of employees to organize in the workplace.
The settlement will be spread among more than 300 people. The NLRB noted that $76 million is more than what it brings in during a typical year from back pay enforcement.
“The settlement demonstrates the Board’s continued commitment to enforcing the law and ensuring employees who were treated unfairly obtain the monetary relief ordered by the Board,” NLRB general counsel Peter B. Robb said.
CNN has waged a protracted paperwork war on the case. Ownership of CNN has changed hands since the incidents in question, passing from Time Warner to AT&T in 2018.
“After more than a decade of litigation, negotiation and appeals we are pleased to have resolved a longstanding legal matter,” a CNN rep said.