The WGA East has reached an agreement with NBC News Studios for the coverage of programs produced by the recently established unit. The deal ends a bitter battle in which the union accused NBCUniversal of “union busting” in a dispute over the shuttering of its now-defunct Peacock Productions, formerly the in-house nonfiction production wing of NBC News.
The guild had filed unfair labor practice charges against NBC with the National Labor Relations Board, but those charges have been dropped in light of the new agreement.
“We are pleased that this important nonfiction programming will be covered by our collective bargaining agreement,” said Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director. “This will ensure that the freelance and run-of-show producers, associate producers and casting producers will enjoy union-negotiated pay minimums and other workplace protections, and will participate in a portable health benefits plan like their colleagues at other nonfiction shops.”
The terms of a collective bargaining agreement that had originally covered freelance and run-of-show producers, associate producers and casting producers at the company’s Peacock Productions unit now will apply to employees in these job classifications working on similar nonfiction programs produced by NBC News Studios for television and certain online platforms.
Peacock Productions was shuttered in March, and the guild said that many of the unit’s former writer-producers who had been working under its contract there had been reassigned to the newly created NBC News Studios, which didn’t have a contract with the guild.
NBCUniversal flatly denied the guild’s union-busting charges, saying last month: “We strongly refute what’s being alleged. We have, in writing, requested to meet several times with the WGA East, and they have not responded. We continue to welcome the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with them.” Those conversations have now produced the new agreement.
The WGA East now represents nearly 7,000 writers in film, television and news (broadcast and digital). In addition to NBC News Studios, the union has collective bargaining agreements with nonfiction television entities Vox Entertainment, Viceland, Lion Television and Sharp Entertainment and represents writer-producers at ITV’s Kirkstall Road Enterprises and Leftfield Pictures.