by TVWriter™ Press Service
Variety has reported that the Writers Guild of America East has unionized the writer-producers at New York-based nonfiction TV production company Original Media, producers of INKMASTER, STORMCHASERS, COMIC BOOK MEN, and SWAMP PEOPLE.
“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 WGAE has been actively organizing writer-producers in nonfiction television since 2009. Nonfiction television has boomed in recent years by creating low-cost, highly profitable programming that relies on low wages, smaller crews and longer work schedules by freelance employees with no health care. Well over one thousand skilled creative professionals work in this field in the New York area alone. The WGAE has been working with writer-producers and production companies to help define and enforce industry-wide standards that can allow for these professionals to build long-term, stable and secure careers.
“There has been tremendous growth and consolidation in the nonfiction television industry in the last year – including the recent $360 million plus purchase of Leftfield Entertainment by ITV Studios,” said Peterson. “With such economic concentration and leverage, writer-producers are coming to the conclusion that they need a powerful voice of their own.”
Hear, hear! A tip of the TVWriter™ stetson to the WGAE.