Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians
Language of Materials
The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) is an artificial collection, collected and assembled by the Tamiment Library over the course of several decades. Founded in the mid-1930s as a company union for the National Broadcasting Company, NABET represents professional and non-professional employees in the broadcast industry. In 1994 the union joined with the Communications Workers of America to become NABET-CWA. The collection consists largely of contracts and agreements with NBC and ABC as well as constitutions and by-laws. There are also convention proceedings, reports, and minutes as well as printed ephemera such as fliers, brochures, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and other publications. In addition to the material generated at the international and national level of NABET, there is material from various locals represented in the collection.
NABET was founded in 1934 as the Association of Technical Employees (ATE). The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) formed the ATE as a company union, in an effort to prevent their employees from being organized by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). The ATE would not stay under NBC control for long. It began an energetic organizing campaign, and in 1940 changed its name to the National Association of Broadcast Engineers and Technicians (NABET).
During this period, NBC owned two national networks, designated Red and Blue. In the early 1940s the Federal Communications Commission ordered NBC to divest some of its holdings, and NBC sold the Blue network, which soon became the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). NABET retained the right to represent the professional employees of ABC.
In 1951, in the midst of a jurisdictional dispute with the IBEW and looking for allies, NABET joined the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The CIO gave NABET a charter to organize all broadcast industry employees. To reflect this broadening of representation, the union changed its name to the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians and began to organize non-professional workers.
Shortly after its affiliation with the CIO, the NABET-IBEW dispute came to a head over organizing the Columbia Broadcasting Company (CBS). The CBS disagreement was brought before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Board ruled in favor of the IBEW, which was given authority to organize CBS technical employees.
In 1967 the Hollywood and New York City locals led a fight to strengthen the authority and autonomy of local NABET organizations. This dispute nearly destroyed the union, but resulted in constitutional changes that increased the influence and independence of the network locals.
NABET led ABC national network employees through a strike in 1977. Again in 1987, the NABET workers struck, this time on behalf of the NBC national network. Throughout the late 1970s to the mid-1990s NABET continued to organize local networks and affiliate stations.
In 1993 NABET became affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). In 1994 NABET and CWA held a conference on the possibility of solidifying their affiliation with a formal merger. The conference was a success, and in 1994 NABET merged with CWA. The union once again changed its name, becoming NABET-CWA. NABET-CWA currently represents over 10,000 workers in the broadcast industry.
Folders are arranged alphabetically.
Scope and Content Note
The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives Printed Ephemera Collection on the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians consists largely of agreements and contracts with ABC and NBC. There are also constitutions, by-laws, convention proceedings, and reports. The material in the collection originates with the national body of NABET as well as from various locals, including the minutes from the executive board of Local 16 of New York City. The collection contains several files from the International Federation of Unions of Audio-Visual Workers (FISTAV) and on international entertainment unions in general. There are fliers and circular letters documenting organizing activities as well as pamphlets and stewards manuals.
Conditions Governing Access
Materials are open without restrictions.
Conditions Governing Use
Because of the assembled nature of this collection, copyright status varies across the collection. Copyright is assumed to be held by the original creator of individual items in the collection; these items are expected to pass into the public domain 120 years after their creation. Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from this collection.
Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in this collection have been compiled by the Tamiment Library. There is no accession record associated with this collection.
The provenance of the materials is varied. Items were obtained through purchases, donations, standing orders with publishers, arrangements with labor unions and other organizations, exchanges with other libraries, and through ongoing collecting by Tamiment staff.