Calling striking Fashion Police scribes “schmuck writers” and “idiots”, Joan Rivers is back in hot water with the Writers Guild of America East. “Her latest statement egregiously violates the spirit of the rest of the settlement,” said Michael Winship, President of the WGA East today (see his full statement below). “We are exploring all options.” Rivers made the comments in an interview last week with comedy site, Splitsider. In contrast to her pro-guild stance of just over a month ago after the comedian and long time Guild member avoided an October 14 disciplinary hearing in NYC to determine whether the E! host had violated the union’s rules by writing and performing showrunner duties for the show during the strike, Rivers now appears to have changed sides. “E! is right. They wanted writers to take a vote before they went out and decided to strike and the WGA wanted them to negotiate to not take a vote,” she said in the online interview.
Fashion Police writers have been on strike since April seeking more than $1 million in back wages and overtime. They are backed by the WGA in their fight. After risking being possibly being kicked out of the WGA East, Rivers’ took a very different tone on the writers’ situation last month. “As part of the resolution of the Charges, Ms. Rivers has agreed not to write during the strike and to meet with E! to advocate for immediate contract negotiations in support of the Fashion Police writers,” said the Guild and Rivers in a joint statement on October 7 canceling the disciplinary hearing. No such negotiations have occurred and now the ball is back in the WGA East’s court.
In the meantime, here’s Winship’s statement in full:
The Writers Guild of America, East, has been made aware of Ms. Joan River’s recent derisive and crude comments about the hardworking and mistreated writers of Fashion Police, who have been on strike for months trying to gain union representation and the redress of terrible wages and working conditions. What she has said is not only reprehensible but flies in the face of a settlement with the WGAE to which she agreed. How dare she at first proclaim solidarity with fellow writers and then so crassly stab them in the back? She should be ashamed of herself, although it is clear that the concept of shame does not trouble what little conscience she has. Because the strike continues, she must continue to refuse to write, but her latest statement egregiously violates the spirit of the rest of the settlement. We are exploring all options.
Over a month ago, Joan Rivers called the upcoming Writers Guild of America East trial board hearing over her role on Fashion Police, “a bunch of bullshit.” Next month, the veteran comedienne and longtime … Read More »
2ND UPDATE, 10:08 AM: The blame game continues in the stalled Peacock Productions unionization election. First more than 40 writers sent a protest letter to NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke on WGA East letterhead on Monday (see below). They were upset over the fact that a National Labor Relations appeal by the company of a vote by Peacock freelancers on June 14 have not yet been counted and ballots impounded. Then today NBCU said they didn’t impound anything, it was the NLRB as a part of the appeal procedure and out of their hands. Now WGA East Executive Director Lowell Peterson has sent me a new statement annoyed at what he sees as NBCU’s sophistry. “Sad to see NBCU indulge in corporate double talk. The issue is simple, NBCU executives have the power to unblock the vote and let the ballots be counted. We call on them again to do so and allow the writer-producers to make their own decision about representation. That’s democracy at work,” said Peterson. The thing is in all this jockeying for position, both sides are right. NBCU could asked the NLRB to have their appeal halted so the votes could be counted. However, they didn’t actually stop the votes from being counted or had the ballots impounded, that was done by the NLRB. And, if anyone is asking, they are still investigating the case, sources tell me.
UPDATE, 8:25 AM: NBCUniversal‘s Peacock Productions says it didn’t ask to have any votes impounded in a union election — the National Labor Relations Board did. After a public letter Monday to NBCU chief Steve Burke from dozens of NBC writers (see below) on the dispute over some freelancers at Peacock seeking to join WGA East, the company sent me its own statement today on the matter:
Prior to the June 14 vote, we asked the NLRB to review the Regional Director’s decision regarding the supervisory status of Peacock’s freelance producers. The NLRB granted us a review. As is part of the normal process, the votes were impounded by the NLRB until a decision is made. We are still waiting for the NLRB to render their decision, which is why no votes have been counted.
We believe that Peacock’s producers hold meaningful supervisory authority, which according to Federal Labor Law, excludes them from voting. The Board decided to review the Regional Director’s decision and is currently in the process of doing so.
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The Writers Guild East has announced the results of its 2011 elections, notable not so much for the lack of competition (the main incumbents ran unopposed) but for being the first to institute online voting, which the guild said resulted in … Read More »
The National Labor Relations Board has issued a formal complaint against ITV Studios, the company behind such TV series as The First 48 and Four Weddings, charging that it wrongfully terminated a longtime producer for his support of the WGA … Read More »
Lion Television, the production company behind Discovery’s Cash Cab, MTV’s Megadrive and PBS’ History Detectives and America Revealed, has agreed to recognize the WGA East as the collective bargaining rep for its writers, producers and researchers, a group of about … Read More »