A group of 150 current and recent writers, producers, and associate producers working at reality TV producer Sharp Entertainment filed today for an National Labor Relations Board election to join the Writers Guild of America East. They seek to establish basic standards including health care, minimum rates, overtime compensation, grievance procedures, and fair credits. The union-seekers are staffers at Sharp’s Pawn Stars, Doomsday Preppers, Fatal Encounters and other programs. Sharp’s hit nonfiction shows include Property Wars and Man Vs. Food. “We’ve come to see union representation and collective bargaining, both at Sharp Entertainment and throughout the industry, as our best chance at building sustainable careers. [A] strong majority of producers and APs working at Sharp Entertainment have now signed union cards designating the WGAE as our collective bargaining agent,” organizers wrote in an open letter. “We risk a great deal by doing nothing and watching rates go down, production schedules get tighter, hours get longer, budgets get smaller, crews get leaner, etc.” Sharp’s employee filing is just the latest in WGAE’s ongoing efforts to unionize nonfic production companies. In June NBCU’s Peacock Productions freelancers held a unionization vote sparking a lengthy election dispute.
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