WGA East Wins Unionization Bid at NBC’s Peacock Productions

Dave McNary

The Writers Guild of America East has won a four-year battle with NBCUniversal’s reality-documentary arm Peacock Productions to unionize producers and associate producers.

The guild announced Wednesday that three-year-old ballots counted by the National Labor Relations Board show that the writer-producers at Peacock Productions voted “decisively” in favor of unionizing about 100 freelance producers and associate producers. Peacock Productions had no immediate comment.

The dispute began in October of 2012, when writer-producers at Peacock Productions filed for a union election with the NLRB. Peacock Productions attempted to block a vote but the NLRB Region 2 in New York ruled against Peacock and ordered the election to go forward in 2013. NBCU filed an appeal, and after the election, the NLRB impounded the ballots until a decision was made by the board.

The ballots were counted shortly after the NLRB’s board ruled on Aug. 26 that the employees did have the right to unionize under federal labor law. Since that time, the WGA East have unionized reality TV writers and producers at Vice, Gawker, ThinkProgress, and Salon.

“While NBC has been dragging its feet the past three years, nonfiction workers have won union elections at New York’s biggest production companies,” said David Van Taylor, a producer at Peacock Productions. “We are transforming this industry. Now producers and APs at Peacock can join in the progress we’re making towards reasonable working conditions and sustainable careers.”

“It’s clear the majority of creative professionals in this industry are behind us. Peacock workers now expect to negotiate a contract that protects their rights, just as Writers Guild contracts have protected the rights of NBC’s fiction writers for years.”

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