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,
… Read More »
For the past couple of months, Comcast has been embroiled into a standoff with the WGA over efforts by writers on shows for Comcast Entertainment Group’s E!, Style and G4 networks to get union coverage. The war of words between the two sides, in which the WGA had accused Comcast of sabotaging its employees’ attempts to go union and Comcast had insisted that the WGA followed the lengthy NLRB procedure, escalated on Tuesday when the WGA announced that Comcast writers had voted overwhelmingly for WGA representation in a secret ballot election monitored and certified by the office of L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti. Moments later, Comcast dismissed the vote as a “non-binding poll.” This afternoon, Comcast Entertainment Group brass sent out a company-wide e-mail explaining its position on the matter. Here it is
Recently, there has been a lot said surrounding the Writer’s Guild of America West’s desire to represent the writers on some of the shows which air on E!, Style and G4. We wanted you to hear directly from your leadership team on this.
Let’s begin with a simple fact. The company respects the rights of our employees to decide if they wish to be represented by a union or not. For 75 years, the process of union representation has been handled by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is an independent federal agency created to safeguard employees’ rights to organize. The NLRB provides a process and determines which employees are in a voting unit and how many units may be within a company. The NLRB then also oversees the secret ballot election. We support this process as it is the one way to guarantee fairness. You should know that over the years, the WGA has relied on the NLRB process in its organizing activities. In fact, last year, the WGA West filed three petitions for elections with the NLRB. We have urged the WGA West to file a petition with the NLRB so that a binding secret ballot election, overseen by the NLRB, can take place. The WGA West has refused to do this and instead has demanded that E!, Style and G4 immediately recognize the WGAW as the representative of our writers.
Read More »
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.
Read More »
Comcast vs WGA: Latest Guild Battleground
LA City Council President Eric Garcetti tomorrow will announce the results of a “secret ballot union representation election” conducted for writers on Comcast’s E!, Style, and G4 entertainment networks. The writers voted today whether to designate the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) as their bargaining rep. Garcetti’s office monitored the election and will tally and certify the results.
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:
EXCLUSIVE: Comcast and the Writers Guild of America are battling over union organizing. Over the last several months the writers of Comcast Entertainment Group have quietly engaged the Writers’ Guild of America West for the purposes of collective bargaining with their employer. CEG is the cable entertainment wing of Comcast: it includes the E!, Style!, and G4 networks, as well as Versus, Sprout, and Fear Net. Here’s what we’re told is happening:
Inside the company our title is Script Consultant, Story Editor, Producer or anything other than Writer. We decided to send this note to Deadline.com to let you know that collectively we write countless hours of television across E!, Style, & G4. This is scripted television work that deserves the benefits of coverage by WGA contracts.
Instead of honoring our request for recognition, Comcast has chosen to stall and push this off until they feel it is convenient to them, [which is] long past the time they expect the merger with NBC Universal to close. While they work to reorganize their executive staff as if the merger were a fait accompli, we sit and wait for what is, by law, our right. Now, rather than adhering to their promises of good labor relations they made to the WGA, the U.S. Congress and other Hollywood unions and their acknowledgement that Hollywood is a union town, they have chosen to ask for an election with a lengthy hearing process —
… Read More »