Exactly two weeks after crew members on NBC’s Biggest Loser walked off the set, starting an IATSE-led strike against the producers of the veteran reality series, Reveille Prods., 3 Ball Prods. and 25/7 Prods, the union and the production companies announced they have reached a tentative agreement, putting an end to the strike that crippled production on Biggest Loser for the past 2 weeks. At stake were crew members’ health benefits as the Biggest Loser producers don’t offer any and, as a non-union show, working on it didn’t count toward the IA days crew members need to accumulate in order to get benefits through the union. The production companies, which have deals with DGA and AFTRA, had resisted going union with IATSE because of the steep price tag involved, between a half million dollars and $2 million, depending on who you talk to, noting that they paid the crew wages substantially higher than the the union minimum to make up for the lack of benefits. But sources close to the crew had countered that much smaller cable reality series work under IA deals, so Biggest Loser should be able to afford the switch. The strike drew growing support from outside and within the show. It was endorsed by the LA County AFL-CIO on Tuesday and then by the state’s California Federation of Labor on Thursday. The show’s …
More major union support for the striking crew members on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. After being endorsed on a county level by the LA County AFL-CIO on Tuesday, the IATSE-led strike, now in its second week, was just sanctioned by the state’s California Federation of Labor:
(Oakland) –The California Labor Federation today declared a strike sanction on behalf of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) against the reality television series “The Biggest Loser” and its production entities, Reveille Productions, 25/7 Productions and 3 Ball Productions.
The sanction follows a vote by 100% of the production crew members to support the IATSE. The California Labor Federation, which represents 2.1 million members statewide, offered full support to the striking workers in their fight to gain a fair contract.
“A television show is only as good as its production crew,” said Art Pulaski, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Labor Federation. “The striking crew members on ‘The Biggest Loser’ put their heart and soul into creating a quality show each and every week. It’s shameful that the show and its production entities have shown so little respect for those who are so integral to the show’s success. The 2.1 million members of the California Labor Federation stand in solidarity with the striking members of the production crew in their fight to secure a decent wage with good benefits.”
IATSE took the strike against NBC’s reality series The Biggest Loser to NBC. Representatives for the union tonight hung a banner about the labor dispute in front of the NBC compound in Burbank. (photo via Twitter) The strike began last Monday night when Biggest Loser crew members, joined by IATSE representatives, walked off the set of the show. The walkout was endorsed yesterday by AFL-CIO. Striking crew members have been picketing in front of the Biggest Loser Ranch in Calabasas where the reality series is filmed.
The crowd on the picket line at The Biggest Loser ranch is expected to be significantly larger tomorrow after the LA County AFL-CIO affiliate today endorsed the IATSE-led strike by the reality series’ crew and vowed to send picketers from some of the 350 unions and more than 800,000 unions it represents. There won’t be much to picket though as Biggest Loser is not scheduled to be filming on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the show’s AFTRA-represented talent, trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper and host Alison Sweeney are yet to cross the picket line despite having no-strike clauses in their contracts. What’s more, the three are auctioning off a training session (Michaels/Harper) and a lunch date (Sweeney) on Ebay to support the relief fund established for the striking crew.