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Atlas Backed by NLRB in WGA Dispute

Atlas says WGA East no longer reps employees

Reality TV company Atlas Media has been backed by the National Labor Relations Board in its dispute with the Writers Guild of America East over representing Atlas employees.

Atlas said the NLRB has dismissed all unfair labor practice charges filed by the WGA East after Atlas Media employees presented Atlas with a petition signed by the majority of bargaining unit members stating that they no longer wished to be represented by the guild.

Atlas said the decision means the WGA no longer represents any Atlas employees while the WGA East said it will appeal the NLRB’s ruling.

“We are obviously pleased with this outcome,” said Atlas Medias’s Jeanne McHale-Waite. “Our employees voiced to us that they didn’t want to be represented by the WGAE anymore. We are happy that the NLRB ruled that Atlas did nothing wrong, but simply respected our employees’ wishes. We can now all move on.”

WGA East exec director Lowell Peterson issued a statement that the dispute is not over.

” The WGAE is appealing the initial dismissal of our unfair labor charges,” he said. “So many employees voted with their feet, quit Atlas, and chose not to return to work there that it was difficult for the Guild to prevail at this stage of the proceedings. Atlas in effect told the remaining employees that the only way to get health insurance was to reject the Guild; that, we contend, is both wrong and unlawful. We are confident the employees we represent will prevail in all of our efforts to ensure that the company obeys the law.”

The guild has alleged last year that Atlas was engaged in union-busting, asserting that Atlas had been intimidating workers, including misclassifying employees as independent contractors and neglecting to pay overtime.

Atlas was organized as part of a WGA East organizing drive dating back to 2010. That effort targeted shows produced in New York City, with a focus on the issues of scribes working unpaid overtime and without employer-provided health-care benefits.

The WGA East reached three-year master contract agreements in July with Lion Television and Optomen Prods. after more than a year of negotiations with the reality TV companies.

Recent Atlas shows include “Hotel Impossible” (pictured), “Raising House” and “top 5 Travel.”

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