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Union behind ABC shows reaches tentative deal

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The union that represents news writers, producers and technical staff at ABC, including those at shows such as "Katie" and "Live with Kelly and Michael," said Monday that it had reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract.

The contract between The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians-Communications Workers of America would replace one that expired in March 2011.

NABET-CWA President James Joyce and the bargaining committee unanimously recommended that members ratify the offer by May 17.

The union said that the tentative deal contained significant improvements in terms of pay, jurisdiction and retirement benefits compared with ABC's "last, best and final" offer in July.

It contains annual pay raises of 2.5 percent and 2 percent starting March 30 if the deal is ratified by the May deadline.

The contract will cover about 2,500 staff and daily hire workers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C. The contract also establishes union jurisdiction over the newly launched Fusion channel, a joint venture between ABC and Univision.