WGA East Seeks Contract Talks with Reality TV Producers

The WGA East has asked the Nonfiction Producers Association to start contract talks for a deal that would cover work by writers and producers on reality TV shows.

The move prompted a chilly response from the association. The group signaled it won’t go along with the idea, asserting that its members already provide fair compensation and benefits to its production employees.

The guild issued the offer on Tuesday, four days after Rick Feldman had stepped down as exec director of the year-old association.

“As you consider the future of the NPA, as you try to recruit a new executive director, why not agree to a meeting with the WGAE?” said WGAE exec director Lowell Peterson. “We communicate with your writer-producers — thousands of them — all the time, through meetings and phone calls and surveys and emails. We know what they want, what they deserve. Hear us out. Build a productive relationship with the union that your employees have turned to in their quest to build sustainable careers. Let’s meet this month.”

The guild has been organizing writer-producers in nonfiction television since 2009. It has collective bargaining agreements with three production companies — Sharp Entertainment, Optomen Prods. and Lion TV — and is negotiating with ITV and Original Media. The WGA East is also awaiting a determination from the NLRB at Peacock Prods., and the guild was certified in March as the bargaining agent for writer-producers at Jane Street.

The association said in response to the open letter: “Like countless other trade associations, the NPA was created to promote the interests of its member companies and their employees. The continued growth and success of the nonfiction television industry and its member companies is the NPA’s primary concern and goal. The NPA’s guiding principles include a commitment of each individual member company to provide fair compensation and benefits to its production employees, which each member does. After its search for a new executive director is concluded, the NPA looks forward to reaching out to all industry players.”

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