Not so fast! Shortly after the L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti announced that the writers on shows for the Comcast Entertainment Networks have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a WGA representation, Comcast struck back, dismissing the vote as a “non-binding poll” and asking again for a NLRB-sanctioned election, which is a lengthy procedure.
Yesterday the WGAW conducted a non-binding poll with some of our employees purporting that it was an “election,” and this morning L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti announced the results. We want to make it very clear to our employees, the press and the interested public that union elections are governed by federal law, and overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, the government agency officially charged with such oversight for the past 75 years. This was not an NLRB-sanctioned election and has no binding effect. This non-binding poll was in direct conflict with the NLRB-sanctioned process for union organizing which ensures that all eligible employees are permitted to vote on such an important matter as union representation.
Which employees are eligible to vote is a matter determined not by the union, as was done here, but by the NLRB. The NLRB process begins with the union filing a petition with a description of the unit or units of employees that they wish to represent. Because the union has not taken that first step, the NLRB has not even begun the process of determining which employees would be eligible and how many units there could be at E!, Style and G4.
The WGA has asked the company to voluntarily recognize it as the representative of some of our employees without affording those employees the right to vote in a real and binding election, with all of the protections established under federal law ensuring the fairness of that process. We informed the union that we believe in the sanctity of the secret ballot election and feel that it is important for every employee to have the opportunity to vote. A binding election of eligible employees, overseen by the NLRB, is what is called for and is what is fair for our employees.
If the WGA is truly certain of the desires of our employees, as they assert they are, then they should call for an NLRB-sanctioned election so that voting can take place and the matter can be settled in the manner prescribed by the NLRB.
PREVIOUS 10:40 AM The vote should finally clear the way to WGAW representation for writers on Comcast’s E!, Style and G4 who have been seeking coverage for the past several months.
Los Angeles – Writers on Comcast’s entertainment networks E!, Style, and G4 have voted to be represented by the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW). Tuesday’s secret ballot election was monitored and certified by the office of L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti, and the results were announced by the councilmember today at City Hall.
Writers from Comcast Entertainment Group’s cable networks shows, including The Soup, The Dish, Attack of the Show, and E! News, cheered as Garcetti announced the tally – 46 in favor of WGAW representation, 1 against.
“The results of this election send a clear message – these writers are serious about organizing and want Comcast to sit down with the WGAW to negotiate a contract on their behalf,” said the L.A. City Council President.
Despite being notified of the signing of union authorization cards by more than 80% of its writers, Comcast rejected their request to negotiate with the WGAW immediately, and instead chose to stall the process, saying it preferred an election controlled by the Federal government through the National Labor Relations Board. The writers then decided a representation election was in order.
“As professional writers, we’re only asking for what our counterparts at NBC Universal have,” said The Dish writer Penelope Lombard. “We’ve selected the WGAW to represent us, and we expect Comcast to honor our decision.”
“Comcast made a public statement saying it believed in the sanctity of a secret ballot election and that’s exactly what we’ve participated in,” said The Soup writer Greg Fideler. “Comcast must now do its part and begin talks with the Writer’s Guild.”
Last week, Comcast writers got a boost from their Writers Guild counterparts at NBC Universal (NBCU) when more than 140 writers with shows airing on NBCU’s broadcast or cable channels or whose shows are produced by NBCU signed a letter supporting the Comcast writers’ request for the company to enter into negotiations with the WGAW. Referring to the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, the letter stated, “If the Comcast-NBCU merger is approved, we will all be generating revenue for the same company. On February 25th, 2010, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, saying: ‘And so one of our commitments upfront is we hope to continue the good relations with the guilds and with the unions that NBC Universal has.’
Therefore, we call on Comcast Entertainment Group to live up to its pledge and immediately recognize and negotiate with the Writers Guild of America, West.”
TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.