Union Solidarity Bolsters NYC Truth Tour Rally



Union support was out in force in New York City as the American Idol Truth Tour made its final stop in midtown Manhattan today. Members and leaders of the Writers Guild, East, Writers Guild, West, and Teamsters were among the approximately 150 people taking part in a noon-time rally and leaflet action in front of FremantleMedia's headquarters on East 28th Street . FremantleMedia produces American Idol, as well as other primetime programs such as America's Got Talent, Million Dollar Password, and Farmer Wants A Wife.

Joining the Writers Guilds and Teamsters at the rally and supporting the effort were many fellow labor unions, including the UAW, SEIU, the Laborers, CWA, and NABET. Many of these unions supported us during the recent 100-day WGA strike. Their continued support demonstrates the solidarity of the New York labor community.

WGAE staff and other Truth Tour members distributed almost 2,000 flyers and hundreds of t-shirts to interested New Yorkers and others who wanted to know more about the Truth Tour and our message. The effort helped spread the word about the important role unions play in securing employee rights and benefits.

WGAE President Michael Winship presided over the event, which featured speakers WGAW President Patric M. Verrone, IBT Local 817 Secretary-Treasurer Tom O'Donnell, Jr., former American Idol production assistant Justin Buckles, and former Fremantle game show writer Ro DiSalvo.

"Reality is not what Fremantle puts up on the screen. Reality is the way it mistreats and underpays its employees," said WGAE President Michael Winship at the rally. "Drivers and others work exhausting hours, seven days a week for no overtime, without benefits, pensions or even break for meals. All this while Fremantle thrives on revenues of $1.8 billion a year."

The New York stop was the last stop of the Truth Tour. It coincided with the auditions for the upcoming season being held in the area. The Truth Tour has been following this season's Idol auditions, raising awareness that the show's producer, as well as all reality and game show producers, need to do the right thing by offering industry-standard pay, working conditions, and benefits to its employees.