The Writers Guild of America East has unionized the writer-producers at New York-based nonfiction TV production company Original Media.
The writer-producers voted to authorize the guild as their collective bargaining agent by 42-9 in an election held by the National Labor Relations Board. The vote included writer-producers on Original Media’s “Inkmaster,” “Stormchasers” and “Swamp People” (pictured above).
“The men and women who work so hard to create nonfiction (reality) TV shows have demonstrated that they want WGAE representation to help them improve their working conditions and to build sustainable careers,” said WGA East exec director Lowell Peterson. “We look forward to sitting down with the company and negotiating a contract that will provide health benefits, paid time off, minimum compensation levels, and other basic union protections.”
The WGA East has been campaigning over the past four years to unionize reality TV producers and has reached deals covering writer-producers at Optomen Productions, Lion TV and Sharp Entertainment. It’s bargaining for a master contract with ITV and is awaiting the outcome of an NLRB appeal at NBC Universal’s Peacock Productions.
The WGA East recently reported that New York City’s reality TV sector grew 20% over the last 10 years, and accounts for more than 12,000 jobs. The New York City Council held a hearing last month over guild allegations of unpaid overtime in the sector.