Jigsaw Productions

How do we get a union at Jigsaw?

Once we determine that a majority of people at Jigsaw want a union, we will sign union cards or sign a union petition. When a majority of people at Jigsaw have signed, we will ask Jigsaw to voluntary recognize the union and start contract negotiations.

Who is included in the union?

Our key principle is that union campaigns must be governed by the people involved in those campaigns. At nonfiction shops, the Guild is actively organizing everyone involved with the creation of the show (with the exception of the editors).

At Vox Entertainment, which produces Netflix’s Explained, the following titles are included in the collective bargaining agreement:

AP/Research, Associate Producer, AP Specialist, Archival Producer, Art Director, Junior Archival, Post AP, Post Coordinator, Post Production Assistant, Production Assistant, Producer, Show Runner, Sr. Producer/Writer, Supervising Producer, GFX Designer, GFX Tech, GFX Artist, Motion GFX Editor, Jr. Graphic Freelance Designer, Motion Graphics, Story Producer

(Read the Vox Entertainment union contract.)

Would starting a union at Jigsaw mean we would have to follow a predetermined set of “union rules”?

Jigsaw would not suddenly be bound by a national agreement or “union rules” after recognition. They would be bound to negotiate a contract with the employees at Jigsaw. The Vox contract is different than the NBC News Service (formerly Peacock) contract which is different from the Lion and Sharp contracts. The principle here is that you determine the priorities for your union contract, and you and your colleagues negotiate for what it is that you want.

Would I need to be a union member to get a job at Jigsaw if there was a union? Could I do non-union work after a gig at Jigsaw ended?

While everyone working at a union shop would be a union member while they work at Jigsaw, they would not have to be a member in order to get the job, and they would not have to work only at union places after they left.

What could we win in a contract?

The most important question is how collective action and unions can address the issues of nonfiction TV in general and the specific issues that were raised in the recent petition. We encourage everyone to look at the Vox contract, which addresses almost every issue brought up in the Jigsaw Petition.

To highlight a few of the provisions in the Vox contract:

  • Minimum pay rates: All of our contracts guarantee minimum wages, but allow for individual negotiations above the minimums.
  • Workweek: If a weekly employee who is not covered by overtime provisions works a sixth or seventh day, they will be paid for that day at ⅕ their weekly salary rate (showrunners exempt)*
  • Rest period of 8 hours during a regular work day and 6 hours during travel. If the company violates the rest period, a $35/hour penalty for hourly employee and $100 flat for weekly employees will apply*
  • Holidays: 10 company designated holidays 5 days off after 5 months
  • There is a provision that allows for both performance reviews and exit interviews.
  • Health benefits:
    • Starting on the first day of employment, Vox pays $23 per day to the Flex Plan. The employee could either use that money for a health care plan, or use the money for health-related expenses. The flex plan is a portable health insurance plan that will eventually allow producers to move from company to company without changing plans.

Finally, a quick word on the strategy of organizing.

While it is important to organize individual production companies and to get solid contracts, it is clear that unless we are able to push the networks and streaming services we will not be able to transform the industry in the way we need to. This is indeed our goal. We want to get enough contracts at individual companies that put us in a position to demand better contracts from the networks and streaming services. All of these companies, such as HBO and Netflix, already have agreements with the Guild in scripted. So why not nonfiction?

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