The National Labor Relations Board has finally ordered the counting of ballots cast more than three years ago to determine whether reality show producers at NBC News’ Peacock Productions want to be represented by the WGA East.
Writer-producers at the NBCUniversal subsidiary filed a motion for union election with the NLRB in October 2012, and a vote was held the following June. The ballots were impounded, however, pending a decision by the board that would determine whether or not producers there are employees as defined by the National Labor Relations Act. NBC and Peacock argued that they’re not – that they’re supervisors and therefore not allowed to unionize.
“We believe that Peacock’s producers hold meaningful supervisory authority, which according to federal labor Law, excludes them from voting,” the company said at the time.
The NLRB, however, has now ruled that that the producers on such shows as Caught On Camera and Disappeared are indeed employees who have a right to unionize, and ordered ballots to be counted. In its ruling, the board determined the company had failed “to demonstrate, through actual examples, that its producers have the authority to act as supervisors.”
The union said the judgment “sets a clear precedent that producers are eligible to join a labor union,” and accused NBC and Peacock of waging “an intense anti-union campaign that including threatening employees with being blacklisted.”
“We are gratified that the NLRB has once again rejected NBCU’s attempt to deprive Peacock producers – and by extension all people who do creative work for a living – of their right to engage in collective bargaining,” WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson said. “This has been a long struggle and we look forward to the results of the secret ballot voting, and to negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that will address Peacock employees’ real concerns and will give them a real voice on the job.”