ITV IN AMERICA
On 10 May 2018, the Writers Guild of America, East headed to London to make it clear to ITV that the company needs to respect its workers. With our friends at BECTU, the UK’s media and entertainment union, and the Writers Guild of Great Britain we will be protesting the annual meeting of ITV, which owns both Kirkstall and ITV in New York.
For years ITV has refused to settle a union contract with WGAE.
But we are traveling to London because their refusal to sign a contract has affected real people in profound ways, and it is time their story is told.
In March, ITV management was given a letter documenting the mistreatment of women and people of color at ITV. Tiffany Magby, one of the women who signed that letter, will be in London to represent the WGAE and personally make it clear to ITV, the MPs we are meeting with, and the press that treating women of color the way ITV treats them is simply not right. ITV needs to sign a union contract and treat women and people of color with respect immediately. The WGAE has given them very specific proposals that ITV could sign tomorrow if this was important to them.
Below you will find articles and press releases documenting what Tiffany and others had to go through.
Here are takeaways from ITV’s track record in America:
- Refusal to accept a standard U.S. union contract with the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO;
- Allegations of discrimination against women and people of colour;
- Guilty of U.S. labor law violations;
- Protests at their offices in New York and Los Angeles over low pay and unfair work schedules;
- Urged to end its labor dispute with the Writers Guild by members of Parliament, UNI Global Union, International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and more elected officials.
- Criticism from prominent entertainers John Oliver, Amy Schumer, John Leguizamo, Tim Meadows, Jonathan Ames, Lewis Black, Alan Zweibel, Tracey Wigfield, Robin Thede, Lisa Lampanelli and Colin Jost, among over 150 television writers and on-air talent.
Continue below for more information on ITV in America.
LATEST PRESS RELEASE
ITV’s Diversity Problems Extend to America
Action planned at ITV’s Annual General Meeting on May 10th
NEW YORK, NY (May 4, 2018) – ITV is in the hot-seat as it heads into its Thursday 10 May Annual General Meeting amid concerns about diversity and the treatment of women employees within its production operations in the UK, as well as in America.
In the US, ITV’s management received a letter from a group of diverse employees who painted a disturbing picture of how the company treats women and people of colour.
Tiffany Magby, one of the letter signees who has since left the company, explained, “We wrote ITV management as a group of women of color to inform them about what we consider systematic discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and overtime violations that we experienced while working on two of the company’s most prominent programs.
“We called for both equal pay with our white male colleagues and opportunities for growth at ITV, specifically at the field producer level, which is currently almost exclusively held by men.”
Ms. Magby and staff of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), as well as members of BECTU, the UK’s media and entertainment union, and the Writers Guild of Great Britain, will protest at ITV’s Annual General Meeting on 10 May at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Broad Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3EE.
The action calls on ITV to enter a collective bargaining agreement with the WGAE, just as other US non-fiction TV production companies have done. The Guild has proposed contract terms that would directly address the concerns raised by Ms. Magby and her former colleagues at the company.
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said: “ITV’s new CEO Carolyn McCall and investors should be deeply troubled by its production operations in the US, which have been touted as one of the company’s key sources of profit and growth.
“In the US, ITV employees overwhelmingly voted to unionise because they believe the best way to get management to address their pressing concerns is through a collective bargaining agreement. Unfortunately, ITV has done nothing but stall and resist as employees’ concerns about working conditions and protections continue to mount.”
Gerry Morrissey, head of the BECTU Sector of Prospect, said: “We have appealed on several occasions to ITV plc to develop a constructive relationship with WGAE to echo the relationship the company has with BECTU here in the UK. We believe the company’s resistance to engaging with the WGAE reflects badly on the company’s management.
“That’s why we’re proud to support representatives of the WGAE when they visit London on 10 May to lobby ITV shareholders. Whether here in the UK or in the US, we’re in the business of communication and we live in a democracy.
“If the company values its reputation, ITV management will sit down soon with the WGAE to discuss members’ concerns.”
The WGAE has worldwide support, including from UNI Global Union, an organisation of more than 900 unions in the services sectors, including media and entertainment, representing more than 20 million working people across the globe.
UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings recently wrote to ITV CEO McCall, saying: “UNI Global Union believes that multi-national media companies such as ITV must honour the labour standards in the nations in which it conducts operations.
“This includes honouring the provisions of the standard collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the unions in those nations. Unfortunately, in the United States ITV has taken the opposite path, at least in its unscripted/nonfiction television units. This is simply not the way to do business in an industry that relies on its professional employees to create and distribute content.”
Gail Renard, WGGB Chair and also a signatory to the women screenwriters letter, said “All employees have a right to fair and equal renumeration regardless of gender or colour. All should have the same opportunities for advancement and be able to do their jobs free from harassment, discrimination or retaliation. ITV employees in the US have voted to be represented by the WGAE.
“We call upon ITV to acknowledge that we all have the same aims — to make the best television shows possible– and to address their workers’ problems ASAP.”
ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, news and digital media. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.
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MEDIA COVERAGE OF ITV
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- BROADCAST UK: US writers urge ITV to agree union contract
- DEADLINE: WGA East Blasts ITV America For Refusing To Negotiate “Union Security”
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- LOS ANGELES TIMES: Writers Guild of America to picket ‘Pawn Stars’ production company in Los Angeles in dispute over pay and hours
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- DEADLINE: WGA East Wins Another Round in Organizing Fight With ITV
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- THE GUARDIAN: US union sues ITV-owned production company in health insurance dispute
- DEADLINE: ITV Studios Dispute With WGA East Gets Trial Date
- REALSCREEN: ITV facing trial in the U.S.
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- BLOOMBERG BNA: Writers Guild Organizes Producers at Leftfield Entertainment
- BROADCAST UK: Leftfield staff vote to join WGAE union
- DEADLINE: WGA East Wins Unionization Vote At ‘Pawn Stars’ Producer Leftfield Entertainment
- HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: WGA East Touts Concession by ITV Over Bargaining
- BBC: ITV staff to strike in pay dispute
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- C21 MEDIA: Writers Guild warns ITV investors
- C21 MEDIA: Writers sign petition against ITV
- THE GUARDIAN: ITV staff to hold strike ballot over annual pay offer
- DEADLINE: WGA East Heavyweights Sign Petition Urging ITV To Bargaining Table
- VARIETY: Writers Slam ITV Over Neil Patrick Harris Show
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