WGA East supporters protest unionization holdup

About 25 supporters of the Writers Guild of America East staged a protest outside the New York offices of ITV Studios as part of a long-running dispute over unionization.

The guild has asserted that a majority of writers and producers at ITV, which produces “The First 48″ and “Four Weddings,” voted for WGA representation in a secret ballot conducted in December but that the company has since tied up certification of the vote with various legal maneuvers. About 80 people would be covered by the WGA.

Friday’s event elicited demands that the company give its American employees the same rights as their unionized British counterparts. The WGA East reported that it was joined in the action by members of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, Irish Writers Guild, Scriptwriters Guild of Israel, Societe des auteurs de radio, television et cinema (Sartec), the Quebec guild, Writers Guild of America, West, La Guilde (French Writers Guild), Australian Writers Guild and New Zealand Writers Guild.

The Intl. Affiliation of Writers Guilds passed a resolution Thursday calling on ITV Studios and its U.S. subsidiary to recognize the WGA East as the bargaining rep and to negotiate in good faith.

Robert Taylor, chair of the Writers Guild of Great Britain, said in a statement, “We bargain collectively with ITV Studios in Britain, and we are shocked that the company is using shareholder money to fight the Writers Guild in the U.S.. We believe the employees in the U.S. should have the same rights as our members.”

The WGA East attempted to organize ITV as part of its efforts over the past year to bring its coverage to the nonfiction sector of the TV industry. It has successfully organized Atlas Media and Lion Television as part of that campaign.

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