CNN Agrees to Record-Setting Settlement

In the NLRB’s largest monetary settlement to date, CNN has agreed to pay $76 million in back pay, stemming from CNN’s decision to terminate its contract with Team Video Services (“TVS”) in an attempt to become a nonunion workplace. The NLRB originally found that CNN not only violated the National Labor Relations Act, but also that CNN was a joint employer with TVS. The case was ultimately remanded relative to the joint employer and back pay issues, and the settlement was reached through the NLRB’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program. 

Business Takeaway: CNN’s 2003 decision to cut ties with TVS became problematic after CNN replaced the TVS workers “without recognizing or bargaining with the two unions that had represented the TVS employees.” As indicated by the employer (CNN), and the large settlement number ($76 million), this case serves as a reminder that all businesses are susceptible to costly employment errors, and that the exposure is real. If you have questions about unionized workers, contact Mark at 414-446-8800 or