UPDATE: Insiders are telling me that, contrary to this WGAE announcement (below), the WGA has not won this election — yet. One of my sources says, “Both sides are a long way from being in a position to legitimately claim a victory. A number of votes have been challenged by either LionTV or the WGA, thus they have not yet been counted. There will be a process in which the NLRB will decide which of these challenged votes to allow and which to reject. This process will take 2-3 months, at a minimum.”
When I asked the WGAE about the above, a spokeswoman emailed back: “The WGAE has won the vote — but the NLRB has not yet certified the election. That is common. Certification always comes after. There are several vote challenges. As part of its anti-union strategy, LionTV has been manipulating the voter list for several months and is now challenging some votes for reasons such as unreadable signatures. This tactic is a delaying tactic and one that is also meant to disenfranchise unit members. The WGAE did challenge votes from people, we believe, were not eligible to vote but were put on the list by Lion TV. These people include interns, supervisors, and people working offsite and not part of the bargaining unit. While we are challenging these votes, we do not believe our challenges will change the outcome of the election – that
Lion TV writers and producers have voted to join the WGAE.”
Here is the earlier WGAE statement:
NEW YORK CITY – In its third key organizing victory in its recently launched non-fiction campaign, writers and producers who work on non-fiction television programming for Lion Television have voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). These employees produce shows such as Cash Cab for Discovery Network, Megadrive for MTV, and History Detectives and America Revealed for PBS. The Lion Television bargaining unit will include almost 100 people employed as writers, producers, associate producers and researchers.
This is the third NLRB election the Guild has won in its new industry-wide campaign to organize the largely non-unionized non-fiction sector of the TV industry. The Guild has recently won the majority of votes in NLRB elections held at two non-fiction TV production companies, Atlas Media (Biography, Dr. G: Medical Examiner, American Eats) and ITV Studios (The First 48 and Four Weddings). The Lion Television vote was 23 to 22, despite the company waging a long aggressive anti-union campaign. Employees seek to gain benefits like healthcare, pension, improved compensation and reasonable working hours by becoming WGAE members.“The employees have joined their colleagues at other companies and have voted to be represented by the Writers Guild. We look forward to working with them to improve their conditions and we welcome them into our creative community. We hope Lion will respect their decision and will begin productive negotiations with us as soon as possible,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson.
“Our union has long represented non-fiction writers at PBS, one of Lion Television’s biggest clients. As a writer for public television myself I know how valuable Guild membership has been for my colleagues and me. Among other great personal and professional benefits, it can be the difference between having health insurance and pension contributions or being out there entirely on your own. So we welcome Lion Television writers and producers into the Writers Guild of America, East. Their hard work has made Lion’s shows profitable and they deserve fair compensation,” said WGAE President Michael Winship.