Unionized CBS News staffers who are members of the Writers Guild of America have overwhelmingly ratified a new contract with the network.

The contract — which received a 98 percent approval vote — covers 500 employees who work in New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Chicago, in both TV and radio. Positions covered by the contract range from desk assistant to producer, with average base salary between $20,000 and $70,000.

The preliminary deal struck between CBS and the Writers Guilds of America, East and West, will give the union staff raises of 3.5 percent annually plus a $3,700 contract bonus. The contract, effective immediately, runs through April 1, 2010.

The staffers had been working under an expired contract for nearly three years.