UPDATE, 5:56 PM: Original Prods in a statement this afternoon has countered claims that the company was stingy when it came to benefits and worker safety on the show. “Original Productions has always offered competitive wages and excellent working conditions,” it read. “It is the reason Original Productions attracts the kind of talent that has been successfully developed into award-winning crafts people with impeccable industry reputations. Additionally, Original Productions follows a strict Injury/Illness Prevention Program policy for all of its productions with healthy and safe working conditions as a priority for all production crews.”
The statement said neither IATSE or the Teamsters have filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for certification and that for now “it is the company’s position that it is not obligated to recognize these two unions as bargaining representatives.”
PREVIOUS, 1:01 PM: About 100 people turned up outside the Burbank compound of 1000 Ways To Die producer Original Productions on a chilly Monday morning. Sympathizers including reps from WGA West as well as SAG and AFTRA joined the picket line, which got underway at 8:30 AM, chanting their call for a union contract for the Spike TV show. Today’s action comes after Original fired two-dozen workers after they voted to seek union representation; production has been stopped for more than a week, and Friday the unions called for a strike. “This is a successful television series and this company refuses to work with unions,” Steve Dayan, an organizer at Teamsters Local 399, told Deadline in front of the well-barricaded Original facility. “This company is non-union for all the unions — non-SAG, non-AFTRA, non-Teamster, non-DGA. These guys have a successful television series and they’re not willing to pay their crew their benefits.” Read More »
Unions Plan Strike Against Spike TV’s ’1,000 Ways To Die’
Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor
UPDATED: Teamsters Local 399 business agent/organizer Steven Dayan said the action is series producer Original Productions’ own fault. “This is a company that has not communicated with us at all,” he told Deadline. “Our understanding is that Original Productions are crewing up again and that they are going to attempt to shoot again.” Production on the Spike TV series, now in its fourth season, came to a halt February 16 when Original fired more than two dozen crew members seeking union protection. Original also produces the reality series Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars and Ice Road Truckers. “This is a company, when it comes to safety, to health benefits, to the people who made their show a success, do not do things the way they should,” Dayan said. “It is a recipe for abusing people. The bottom line is that’s wrong and that is why we will be picketing on Monday.” Here’s the release announcing the action:
LOS ANGELES – Last Thursday, February 16, the crew of Spike Television’s series “1000 Ways to Die” voted unanimously to support the IATSE in securing them benefits, safe working conditions, and collective bargaining rights.
Original Productions, who also produce reality shows such as “Ice Road Truckers” and “Deadliest Catch” for Discovery, refused to recognize the IA as the bargaining unit and summarily fired the crew, numbering over 25 employees. The production has been down for the past week.
Begainning at 8:30 a.m. this coming Monday, Feb. 27, , IATSE and Teamster leaders, the LA County AFL-CIO and rank and file members of several production locals will join the union and non-union crew of “1000 Ways to Die” to walk the picket line in front of Original’s production facility at 2435 Naomi Street, Burbank, CA 91504.
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Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor.
Spike TV’s 1,000 Ways To Die might soon learn what it’s like to be The Biggest Loser. Teamsters Local 399 and IATSE said today that they plan to take action against 1,000 Ways producer Original Productions over crew members fired last week. The unions did the same thing to NBC’s then non-union reality competition series Biggest Loser in 2010, with a weeklong strike ending in a deal and the immediate resumption of production. “The company is not in production right now but when they are, we will act,” Local 399 business agent/organizer Steven Dayan told Deadline today. More than two dozen crew members from 1,000 Ways, which examines and re-creates the way people have died, saw their positions eliminated after they tried to become union members, Teamsters said. IATSE posted on its Twitter feed Thursday that “@Spike_TV “1000 Ways to Die” crew of 20+ unanimously voted to strike. Shooting is shut down, crew holding out for union contract. #VanNuys”. “The company is not paying industry standard rates to the crew that made the show successful,” Dayan says. “There are safety concerns on the set, concerns about the hours people work, and, of course, health benefits are an issue.” Original Prods, which was purchased by FremantleMedia in 2009, also produces Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars and Ice Road Truckers among other series. Season 4 of 1,000 Ways premiered January 25. “We are going to try to convince (Original) to sign … Read More »