WGA West files unfair labor charge

Guild takes on Nick for third time

HOLLYWOOD — The Writers Guild of America West has filed its third unfair labor practice charge against Nickelodeon Animation Studios for alleged retaliation against employees.

The filing with the Natl. Labor Relations Board contends Nick illegally reduced benefits of writers on “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius” after the scribes sought WGA representation.

“This action by Nickelodeon is the latest round in the company’s escalating efforts to deny the benefits of the guild’s contract to these writers,” said Paul Nawrocki, WGAW assistant exec director said. “These writers are seeking the basic rights that artists in this industry gained 60 years ago.”

Public rally

The WGA plans to stage a demonstration today at Nick’s facilities in Burbank, Calif., in support of the organizing drive. The guild said it has signed authorization cards from the writers for “Invader Zim,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Jimmy Neutron,” “Hey Arnold,” “Fairly Odd Parents” and “Constant Payne.”

However, Nick has asked the NLRB to investigate the validity of the authorization cards.

“We are fully cooperating with the NLRB and are awaiting their decision,” Nick said in a statement. “Until that time, we don’t think it’s appropriate to try this issue in the press or to comment publicly on our personnel matters.”

Prior charges

The first WGA charge was filed June 29 after the company allegedly ordered employees to provide statements to the NLRB in support of the company’s legal position. The guild has accused Nick of not informing employees that such statements are voluntary and no reprisal would occur if they declined to participate.

The second charge stemmed from Nick allegedly issuing a rule restricting the employees from posting union material on company bulletin boards and removing the boards. The WGA said the company rescinded the rule and restored the bulletin boards after it filed the charge.

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