WGA East Reaches Deal to Represent NBC Non-Fiction Unit

Gene Maddaus
·2 min read

The Writers Guild of America East has reached a deal to represent workers at NBC News Studios, resolving a labor complaint the union had filed earlier this year.

The guild had accused NBC of union-busting when it shut down Peacock Productions, the network’s in-house documentary unit.

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Workers at Peacock Productions had fought a four-year battle for union representation, culminating in victory in 2016, as part of a broader campaign to raise worker standards in reality TV.

The network announced in early January that Peacock Productions would close. Less than two weeks later, NBC launched NBC News Studios, which also produces documentaries in-house, but did not have a labor agreement to do so.

WGA East filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the network was simply trying to evade its contract with Peacock Productions employees.

On Thursday, the guild announced that it had reached a deal with NBC to represent the workers at the new unit under the same terms as applied to Peacock Productions.

“We are pleased that this important nonfiction programming will be covered by our collective bargaining agreement,” Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director, said in a statement. “This will ensure that the freelance and run-of-show producers, associate producers, and casting producers will enjoy union-negotiated pay minimums and other workplace protections, and will participate in a portable health benefits plan like their colleagues at other nonfiction shops.”

The guild’s ULP complaint has been dropped.

NBC News Studios produces premium documentaries and true-crime shows. But it is also venturing into fiction, announcing a deal with Blumhouse Television to produce scripted shows based on “Dateline” coverage of murder cases.

The WGA East deal is limited to non-fiction work. Any work on scripted productions will be covered by the WGA minimum basic agreement for TV shows.

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