WGAE Pickets ITV Studios HQ in Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES, CA (December 8, 2016) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) led a picket outside ITV Studios’ headquarters in Sherman Oaks, calling on the studio’s Leftfield Entertainment to sign a union Contract after more than a year at the bargaining table.
Leftfield, which produces highly profitable nonfiction/reality shows like PAWN STARS, TINY HOUSE NATION, COUNTING CARS and AMERICAN GRIT, ran a nasty anti-union campaign, but writer-producers voted 2-1 in favor of unionizing with the WGAE in October 2015.
Negotiations between the WGAE and Leftfield are ongoing. At the bargaining table, more than two dozen current and former Leftfield writer-producers voiced their concerns about critical issues like low pay and long hours. Leftfield acknowledged those issues and then laid the blame on its customers, television networks like A&E, AMC, Viacom and Fox. Leftfield asserted that networks control the economics of making nonfiction shows and make it necessary to propose poverty-level pay rates for Leftfield’s writer-producers.
“ITV wants a major presence in American television. That’s why it spent hundreds of millions of dollars to buy Leftfield, one of the largest nonfiction TV production companies in the nation,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “Now Leftfield proposes pay minimums that are below the rates that fast food workers have won in their fight for $15 and a union. Leftfield’ writer-producers create profitable shows and have the right to a WGAE contract that will enable them to build sustainable careers in the television industry.”
The WGAE is leading an industry-wide effort to improve conditions in Nonfiction TV. Nearly 900 nonfiction television writer-producers recently signed an industry-wide petition calling on nonfiction production companies to bargain fair minimum pay rates, safety and scheduling standards, paid time off and healthcare benefits.
In addition to Leftfield, the Guild represents writer-producers at Lion TV, Original Media, Kirkstall Road Enterprises, Sharp Entertainment, Optomen Prods and Jane Street Entertainment.
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, cable, digital media and broadcast news. 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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