CNN has agreed to pay $70 million to settle a 15-year-old labor lawsuit brought by over 200 former CNN camera operators, broadcast engineers, and other technicians.
The group of employees sued the network after it replaced them with non-union workers. The plaintiffs accused the network of cutting them in order to avoid negotiating with their union and violating federal labor laws. CNN held that it was not legally required to work with the union because the workers were contractors through Team Video Services.
The settlement, which was agreed to by both parties, must still be approved by the National Labor Relations Board.
A significant part of the lawsuit hinged on whether CNN could be considered a “joint employer” of contractors that also freelance for other companies. A joint-employer status would grant the workers’ union a much greater legal foundation to negotiate with the network.