Comcast Entertainment Group Defends Its Position On Writers Unionization Efforts

Nellie Andreeva

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.

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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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WGA Accuses Comcast Of Deleting Writers

By | Wednesday December 8, 2010 @ 9:26pm PST


A WGA executive points out the following to me:

Unlike every other article posted online today about the announcement of the 2011 Writers Guild Awards TV nominations,  E! Online (part of E! network owned by Comcast Entertainment Group)

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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

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