You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Federal Investigators Back Writers Guild on Original Media Complaints

Reality show producer Original Media has entered into a settlement agreement with the National Labor Relations Board after the Writers Guild of America alleged the company had failed to bargain in good faith.

Original Media produces “Ink Master” and “BBQ Pitt Wars.” The writer-producers at Original voted last year to represented by the WGA East and negotiations began shortly after the election.

Monday’s announcement of the NLRB ruling is the latest in an acrimonious dispute between the company, owned by Endemol/Shine, and the guild over the contract negotiations. The WGA East had announced last week that it planned to picket the Oct. 13 finale of “Ink Master” over the failure of the company to reach a deal.

The NLRB investigation resulted from the company implementing a health insurance plan for employees and Original’s subsequent failure to provide it with information about the plan. That led to the guild filing unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, alleging the company breached its duty to bargain in good faith.

“One of the central principles of collective bargaining is that the parties have to reach agreement on all issues before the employer can implement anything,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East. “That is the give and take of bargaining, and it enables the employees to leverage their collective strength to achieve their goals.  At Original, people wanted to negotiate a decent health plan with reasonable deductibles and affordable premiums, and the company slammed that door shut.”

“The NLRB’s ruling illustrates Original’s utter disregard for its employees’ decision to join with the WGAE and obtain affordable health benefits, minimum weekly rates, paid time off and other basic union protections,” Peterson added. “We are gratified that the NLRB found Original’s disgraceful conduct to be unlawful.”

A spokeswoman for Original disputed the WGA’s assertion that the NLRB had found that the company  failed to negotiate in good faith.

“Original Media chose to offer healthcare to all of its employees, beginning January 1 of this year (in conjunction with open enrollment) via a comprehensive plan widely used throughout the industry,” she added. “The WGAE objected not to the plan itself, but to the level of contribution (80% of the cost of an individual plan offered by Original, versus the 95.5% demanded by the union).”

She also asserted guild insisted that Original Media would agree that all employees must pay union dues or risk termination, adding, “Thus, Original Media reiterates that these are issues that should be discussed at the bargaining table.”

Peterson said the NLRB ruling is “concrete proof” that Original is not negotiating in good faith. “The only acceptable next step is for Original to stop playing games and finalize the agreement that addresses its employees’ concerns,” he added.

The guild said the settlement gives the guild the right to demand that Original rescind its health insurance plan. It also provides that Original must notify unit employees that it will not select and implement its own health insurance plan without providing the union with notice and opportunity to bargain over this decision and its effects.

The settlement also provides several restrictions on Original’s conduct, including not bypassing the union by dealing directly with employees; not refusing to furnish the union with information relevant and necessary to its role as the exclusive bargaining representative; and not making changes in wages, hours and working conditions without reaching an overall good faith impasse in bargaining for a collective bargaining agreement.

More TV

  • Mike Royce24th Annual Critics' Choice Awards,

    CBS Orders Comedy Pilot 'Story of Us' From 'One Day at a Time' Co-Creator Mike Royce

    CBS has ordered a pilot for the comedy “The Story of Us” from writer and executive producer Mike Royce. The hybrid comedy tells the story of how an unlikely couple becomes a family through interviews and vignettes spanning 10 years. In addition to Royce, Nick Stoller and Conor Welch will serve as executive producers. Sony [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Bob Costas Olympics Mike Tirico

    Bob Costas Officially Out at NBC After Nearly 40 Years

    Bob Costas has formally parted ways with NBC after nearly 40 years as a sportscaster for the Peacock. Costas and NBC have been negotiating an exit agreement for months. Word surfaced last summer that he was preparing to end his tenure with the network. Costas confirmed the news in an interview with the New York [...]

  • Happy

    TV Roundup: Syfy Drops First Trailer for Season 2 of 'Happy!'

    In today’s TV News Roundup, Syfy drops the first trailer for the second season of “Happy!” and Imagine Kids & Family sets a partnership with Four M Studios.  FIRST LOOKS Syfy has dropped the first trailer for season two of “Happy!” starring Christopher Meloni and Patton Oswalt. The new season premieres Wednesday, March 27 at 10/9c [...]

  • 'Brexit' Review: Benedict Cumberbatch Stars in

    TV Review: HBO's 'Brexit'

    The announcement of the film “Brexit” — which aired in the U.K. on Channel 4 before its HBO bow on Jan. 19 — engendered serious criticism from the British, and understandably so. The film, which looks at recent history in the manner HBO productions like “Game Change” and “Recount” had done, takes on a story whose very [...]

  • 'Fyre Fraud' and 'Fyre' Reviews: Behind

    TV Review: 'Fyre Fraud' and 'Fyre'

    It seems in retrospect unavoidable that the week of release for a highly-anticipated documentary about a scammer began with an attention-grabbing stunt. On Monday, in advance of the planned Friday drop of Netflix’s “Fyre,” Hulu executed a surprise release of its own “Fyre Fraud”; both films assay the failed 2017 gathering Fyre Festival, a would-be [...]

  • Deadly Class Review

    TV Review: 'Deadly Class' on SyFy

    High school, according to TV and movies, is either the best or worst thing that can happen to a person. It’s almost always depicted as the most fun a kid can have, or a horrifying hellhole from which there’s no escape. “Deadly Class” is decidedly in the latter camp — and despite its edgy attempts [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content