CNN to Pay Record $76 Million in Settlement With National Labor Relations Board

Backpay dispute from 2003 becomes the largest monetary remedy in NLRB history


CNN has agreed to a settlement worth $76 million with the National Labor Relations Board, in a backpay dispute battle involving union workers that had been going on since 2003.

The $76 million is the largest monetary remedy in the history of the National Labor Relations Board. The backpay amount, larger than what the Agency collects on average in a typical year, is expected to benefit over 300 individuals.

“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,” General Counsel Peter B. Robb said. A representative for CNN did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The dispute first started in 2003 after CNN terminated its contract with Team Video Services, which provided CNN video services in Washington D.C. and New York. CNN then hired new employees for the same job without bargaining with the two unions that represented TVS employees. The NLRB said that CNN was trying to operate as a nonunion workplace, telling workers that their prior employment with TVS and union affiliation disqualified them from employment.

In 2008, an administrative law judge found that CNN violated the National Labor Relations Act. In 2014, the NLRB agreed and ordered CNN to bargain with the unions and provide backpay. In 2017, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, including Chief Judge Merrick Garland and then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh (now a Supreme Court judge), adopted the majority of the Board’s findings, and enforced the Board’s order that CNN cease and desist from refusing to recognize and bargain with the unions.

All parties agreed to resolve their dispute through the Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution program.

On Friday, a spokesperson for CNN told TheWrap, “After more than a decade of litigation, negotiation and appeals we are pleased to have resolved a longstanding legal matter.”