In the latest twist in the industry’s longest running organizing saga, the company has agreed to return to the bargaining table and settled a complaint filed by the National Labor Relations Board on the eve of a trial that had been set to go to trial in federal court today.
The settlement also calls for the company to pay over $55,000 to current and former employees who had previously voted to be represented by the guild, and to reinstate the $300 a month stipend it terminated in January 2015 when it unilaterally implemented its own health plan. “The company’s health plan was so mediocre, with costly premiums and minimal benefits, that almost no one actually signed up for coverage,” the union said.
ITV also agreed not to bypass the union, not to refuse to provide relevant information to the union, not to bargain in bad faith, and not to interfere with its employees’ rights under federal labor law.
“The most fundamental principle of collective bargaining is that an employer cannot change employees’ terms and conditions of employment unilaterally,” said WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson. “The company is obligated to bargain in good faith with the guild on all issues – pay rates, paid time off, benefits and union protections like grievance, arbitration and union security – until the parties reach agreement on all issues. In the coming weeks, we will return to the bargaining table to negotiate benefits that are meaningful and affordable to a freelance workforce and all the other elements of a reasonable contract.”