In contracts negotiated by WGAE, Lion Television and Optomen Productions become the first nonfiction TV production companies to offer writer-producers company-paid health benefits, paid time off, and compensation minimums. The deals culminate year-long collective bargaining.
In first-of-their-kind agreements for the non-fiction television industry, the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) has negotiated collective bargaining agreements with two major reality and documentary television production companies, Lion Television and Optomen Productions. The contracts secured after more than a year of negotiations between representatives at Lion, Optomen and WGAE are effective immediately. Over the terms of the agreements, potentially hundreds of employees at these two production companies for the first time will receive:
- Company-paid health benefits, with 90% of the premium paid by the employer;
- Paid time off;
- Grievance and arbitration provisions;
- Compensation minimums
“We are very pleased to have reached agreement with Lion and Optomen,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson. “This is a part of the television industry that has historically been non-union, and these agreements demonstrate that people who join with the WGAE get, not just a community of creative professionals, but tangible improvements in their working conditions.”
The WGAE Non-Fiction Writers and Producers United campaign is an effort by hundreds of creative professionals in non-fiction TV to win the benefits, pay and respect they deserve. In the last year and a half, the WGAE has won union elections at four major production companies to begin the collective bargaining process. The Guild is still in negotiations with Atlas Media and will begin negotiating with ITV Studios once the National Labor Relations Board resolves the remaining appeal. The campaign is also actively working to see that labor law is followed, and overtime is paid.