New York – The National Labor Relations Board has rejected the final appeal by reality television production company ITV Studios to challenge the certification of the December 2010 election results which make the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) the Union representing the production company’s writers and producers.
The NRLB decision upholding the election ends nearly two years of legal foot dragging by the company. The UK-owned ITV Studios is responsible for the nonfiction hit “First 48″ and is a major producer of non- fiction TV. ITV’s corporate parent in Great Britain negotiates with a number of unions so the company’s resistance in the U.S. has been puzzling. Presumably the NLRB’s unanimous decision will bring the company to the bargaining table.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of WGAE, issued the following statement: “The NLRB has ruled at every step that ITV is obligated to recognize the Writers Guild and to bargain with us in good faith. Although the company’s over-lawyered delays have been frustrating, we look forward to productive negotiations. The writer-producers in this part of the industry want health benefits and compensation minimums and other important provisions, and in the long run these will help the employers, as well, because people will be able to build real careers doing this work.”
The WGAE Non-Fiction Writers and Producers United campaign is an effort by hundreds of creative professionals in non-fiction TV to win the benefits, pay and respect they deserve. In the last two and a half years, the WGAE has won union elections at four major production companies to begin the collective bargaining process.
This summer those negotiations resulted in the Guild securing first-of-their-kind agreements for the non-fiction reality television industry with companies Lion Television and Optomen. The agreements, which include company-paid health benefits; paid time off; grievance and arbitration provisions, potentially affect hundreds of employees at each company.
Negotiations with Atlas Media continue and the campaign is also actively working to see that labor law is followed, and overtime is paid.