In another victory for the WGA East’s ongoing campaign to organize reality TV shows, the writer-producers at Original Media have voted to be repped by the guild in collective bargaining. The vote, held under the auspices of the National Labor Relations board, was 42-9 to join. Original Media produces shows including Swamp People, Inkmaster and Stormchasers. “We look forward to sitting down with the company and negotiating a contract that will provide health benefits, paid time off, minimum compensation levels, and other basic union protections,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, in announcing voting results today.
In the last five years, the guild has negotiated contracts with three New York-based reality TV companies in Sharp Entertainment, Lion TV and Optomen Productions. It trying to get two others – ITV and Peacock Productions – to sign its contract. During recent hearings before the New York City Council, the guild presented evidence of unsafe and “sweatshop” working conditions at the city’s largely nonunion reality TV industry.