Reality-TV Violations Probed in New York

The National Labor Relations Board has set a unionization election for writer-producers employed by nonfiction TV production company Original Media.

The 107 writer-producers will vote on whether to be represented by the Writers Guild of America East. Ballots will be counted during the second week of July.

Original Media produces “Ink Master,” “BBQ Pitmasters,” “American Grilled,” “Dual Survival” and “Comic Book Men.” The company had no immediate comment.

The WGA East has been attempting to unionize writer-producers in nonfiction television since 2009. The guild reached three-year master contract agreements with Lion Television and Optomen Prods. in 2012 as the culmination of an organizing drive targeting shows produced in New York City.

The WGA East also successfully unionized about 150 writer-producers at Sharp Entertainment (“Doomsday Preppers”) in February.

In a letter to Original Media employees, the guild said: “This isn’t about bad companies that deserve unions and good companies that don’t – it’s about an industry that is untenable for the freelancers that make it work, and about those freelancers having a say in the direction of their own professional lives by negotiating together with the huge media conglomerates that currently call the shots.”

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