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WGAW: Comcast Aims “To Destroy Unions”

WGAW Board Members Chip Johannessen and Patric Verrone have issued a strongly worded message of support the Comcast writers wanting WGA representation:

To Our Fellow Members,

“If the Writers Guild didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it.” — Legendary Hollywood executive Sid Sheinberg said that back in 1988 when he was president of Universal Studios. Mr. Sheinberg didn’t say it out of some great love of the Guild. The fact is we were on strike at the time and, if there had been some way to do without us, any self-respecting studio head would have jumped at the chance. But Mr. Sheinberg understood the role that our Guild, and all the other guilds and unions, play in this industry. A role that Universal’s latest owner, Comcast, seems not to understand.

Hollywood runs on a talented pool of what is essentially freelance labor. The guilds, every bit as much as the companies, make this talent pool possible by ensuring two things: First, that when you work, you’ll be fairly compensated. And second, that your pension and health benefits follow you from job to job. Projects and shows come and go, but fair compensation and portable benefits ensure that talented people remain. This guild-based ecosystem works to everyone’s advantage, including the companies. It makes our industry possible. Because talented people won’t follow their dreams here if, after 20 years of working, they’ve got nothing to show for it. And without the talent pool,

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UPDATE: Comcast TV Writers Vote For WGA Coverage: But Comcast Dismisses The Vote

Nellie Andreeva

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.

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NBCU TV Writers Support Their Comcast Counterparts Seeking WGA Coverage

Nellie Andreeva

Los Angeles — Writers on Comcast’s entertainment networks E!, Style, and G4 got a boost today from their counterparts at NBC Universal. Writers with shows airing on NBCU’s broadcast or cable channels or whose shows are produced by NBCU have signed on to a letter supporting the Comcast writers’ request for the company to enter into negotiations with the Writers Guild of America, West. In the letter the NBCU writers assert, “We believe that Comcast Entertainment Group’s writers should have what we have, a Writers Guild of America (WGA) contract that provides portable pension and health benefits, fair payment for reuse and resale of their material, reasonable minimums and other appropriate employment terms.”

Despite the signing of union authorization cards by more than 80% of its writers, Comcast has refused to enter into talks with the Guild about the terms of a contract. The shows to be covered are Attack of the Show, Chelsea Lately, E! News, E! Specials, Fashion Police, G4 Specials, The Dish, The Soup, Web Soup, and X-Play.

“The vast majority of us have made it clear we want WGA representation but, there is no way to reach a deal that is fair to both sides if the company won’t bargain with us,” said The Soup writer Greg Fideler.

The letter goes on to state, “If the Comcast-NBCU merger is approved, we will all be generating revenue for the same

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U.S. Sen Boxer Sides With WGA vs Comcast

This afternoon, there was an unexpected development in the battle over union organizing by the writers of Comcast Entertainment Group who’ve engaged the Writers’ Guild of America West for the purposes of collective bargaining with their employer. (CEG includes the E!, Style!, and G4 networks, as well as Versus, Sprout, and Fear Net.) U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer decided to take an active role in the impasse between Comcast and the Writers’ Guild:



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