By: WGAE Non-Fiction    June 1, 2013

The following is a letter from the organizing committee of Peacock producers and APs.

Dear Colleagues,

We are happy to report that a strong majority of producers and APs here at Peacock Productions have signed cards designating the WGA as our collective bargaining agent. This is an important moment. As many of you know, the main goal of this campaign is to organize a union across the industry, at many production companies, so that freelance non-fiction producers can define a minimum standard for compensation and benefit levels for the work we do . In order to accomplish this we need to hold union votes company-by-company. Peacock will be the fifth company to unionize in New York, but the campaign is larger than just Peacock. As one of the top production companies we are in a position to advance the discussion about how the industry should treat producers and APs by leaps and bounds; not to mention inspire other producers and APs across town to follow our lead.

The WGA has represented storytellers in film and in scripted television for many years. Their members enjoy excellent health benefits, 401K, pensions, paid holidays, residuals, and guaranteed credits and minimum rates. Creative workers in the non-fiction television industry deserve no less. Instead we are saddled with relatively low weekly wages, no provisions for overtime, no health benefits, and no guarantees of anything more in the years to come. Nobody will give us what we need out of the goodness of their hearts. It is up to us to do the hard work of organizing and advocating for ourselves to get it.

Many of us agree that Peacock provides some of the better working conditions in town. We also believe that there is room for improvement. Choosing the WGA as our bargaining agent insures that we can advocate for our rights as a group, without fear.

This is NOT an attack on Peacock, nor is it is an attempt to divide the company. It is precisely because we care about Peacock and enjoy working here that we are invested in the hard work and long-term prospects of organizing and winning a contract.

In the coming weeks as we move towards a union vote we can expect Peacock to tell us that things are good here, we don’t need a “third party” to deal with the company, and that the WGA is in no position to get us anything we want. It is important you understand that the WGA is taking their cues from US, and that there is no point in doing this if in the end it doesn’t mean we end up with the power to advocate for ourselves. This process will be open, democratic, and fair. We risk nothing by organizing, but we risk a great deal by doing nothing and watching rates go down, production schedules get tighter, crews get leaner, etc.

Change will not happen here or anywhere else unless producers and APs band together across the industry. We are proud to join with the hundreds of other non-fiction producers and writers in the WGA’s campaign to organize creative workers in our industry. We sincerely hope that Peacock accepts the invitation to sit down with us and the WGA to have a productive, cooperative discussion. And we hope that when you receive your ballot, you will join us in voting “Union Yes.”

With respect and collegiality,

The Peacock Producers Organizing Committee