NLRB Rules Against Comcast/NBCU; Peacock Producers Eligible To Unionize With WGA East
NEW YORK, NY (September 1, 2016) – After more than three years, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Producers at Peacock Productions, the “reality”/nonfiction television production subsidiary of Comcast/NBCUniversal, have the right to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE).
In October of 2012, Writer-Producers at Peacock Productions filed for a union election with the NLRB. Peacock Productions and NBC began an intense anti-union campaign that including threatening employees with being blacklisted and trying to prevent a vote from even happening, claiming that Producers are supervisors and not entitled to any legal protections under the National Labor Relations Act. The NLRB Region 2 in New York ruled against Peacock and ordered the election to go forward, which it did on June 14, 2013. NBC filed an appeal, and after the election, the NLRB impounded the ballots until a decision was made by the Board in Washington, DC.
This week, the NLRB’s Board ruled against Peacock Productions / NBCU, noting that the company failed “to demonstrate, through actual examples, that its producers have the authority to act as supervisors.” The judgement sets a clear precedent that Producers are eligible to join a labor union.
In accordance with the ruling, the NLRB has announced impounded ballots will be counted in the coming days.
“We are gratified that the NLRB has once again rejected NBCU’s attempt to deprive Peacock producers – and by extension all people who do creative work for a living – of their right to engage in collective bargaining,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “This has been a long struggle and we look forward to the results of the secret ballot voting, and to negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that will address Peacock employees’ real concerns and will give them a real voice on the job.”
The WGAE has a mandate of support from Writer-Producers working in nonfiction television to improve working conditions, base salary and health benefits. Despite fierce industry opposition, the Guild has won every union election since it started organizing nonfiction production companies five years ago and now represents Writer-Producers at Leftfield Entertainment, Original Media, Kirkstall Road Enterprises, Sharp Entertainment, Optomen Prods, Lion TV and Jane Street Entertainment.
ABOUT WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.