NBC, struck by 2,800 technicians and news staffers, said Tuesday it has rejected their union's proposal to let an outside mediator try to help negotiate an end to the walkout that now is in its eighth week.
The National Assn. of Broadcast Employees and Technicians made the proposal last Thursday, suggesting five possible choices for a mediator. The five included former Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox, now a Harvard Law School professor.
The union also proposed resuming talks with an outside mediator in "a neutral city" chosen by the mediator.
That was also rejected by NBC, which made public a telegram from its vice president for labor relations, Day Krolik III, that was sent to NABET officials late Monday.
Calling on the union to take a "constructive and realistic approach" to NBC's contract offer, Krolik said the role of mediator "properly belongs" to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
After the union's strike began on June 29, officials of that agency twice brought NBC and NABET officials together to bargain, but without success. The two sides last met face-to-face on July 23.
With or without a federal mediator, "NBC remains available" to meet with union representatives "at your option, in New York," Krolik's telegram said. No talks are scheduled, an NBC spokesman said.
The NABET walkout, now the longest in the union's history at the network, began after NBC put into effect a two-year contract that the union's negotiators previously had rejected.
A key issue in the strike is a dispute over NBC's proposals on so-called "daily hires," or temporary employees. About 700 management and non-union employees have been filling in for the strikers since the walkout began.