A federal trial has been scheduled for Jan. 11 on the charges brought by the Writers Guild of America East against ITV’s nonfiction production arm in the United States.
The complaint alleges that ITV implemented a health insurance plan over the objections of the WGA. The National Labor Relations Board then determined that ITV violated its duty to bargain in good faith, unlawfully implemented the health plan and illegally dropped a monthly stipend the company had been paying to the union-represented employees.
The ITV shows involved include Nat Geo’s “Cesar 911,” “The First 48″ on A&E and TLC’s “Four Weddings.”
“ITV has decided to spend an unfathomable amount of money on lawyers and a trial rather than simply honoring its obligation to bargain in good faith and reach an agreement with the WGAE,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the guild. “For all the talk of ITV CEO Adam Crozier as a great strategist in the U.K., his decision to fight the WGAE is a dead-end strategy in the U.S. His company’s refusal to bargain a reasonable contract has resulted in a federal trial.”
Peterson asserted that ITV’s anti-union campaign at the ITV-owned Leftfield Pictures and Loud TV resulted in a “massive vote” in favor of being repped by the WGAE. “The reality is that the men and women employed by ITV in the United States have concluded that working with the WGAE is the best way to improve their working conditions and to build sustainable careers,” he said.
The guild filed the charges with the National Labor Relations Board a year ago.
An ITV spokesperson said the company is not backing down.
“We simply can’t agree to a settlement which puts the healthcare of our people in jeopardy. We are confident that we acted lawfully in offering health insurance to our employees and strongly refute the false claims by the WGAE that we have not been bargaining in good faith. The union is well aware that we have been negotiating the terms of a collective bargaining agreement for a considerable period of time, and we have come to broad agreement on a wide range of topics such as paid time off including holidays and vacation, wage minimums, as well as grievance and arbitration procedures.”