Cementing the call to improve standards across the nonfiction/“reality” television industry, writer-producers at Leftfield Entertainment, the largest nonfiction production company on the East Coast, voted nearly two-to-one to unionize with the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE).
Leftfield, which is owned by the UK-based media conglomerate ITV, created the hit nonfiction shows PAWN STARS and MONSTER IN-LAWS. Throughout the secret-ballot voting process, management ran a hyperbolic and relentless anti-union campaign. In the end, Leftfield’s campaign was roundly rejected by the company’s employees.
Out of 189 ballots cast, 121 people voted for the WGAE to be their collective-bargaining representatives at Leftfield. The WGAE now represents a critical mass of writer-producers in nonfiction TV. Approximately 700 producers and APs work at Guild-represented shops over the course of an average year.
“It’s time for production companies like Leftfield to recognize that unionization is here to stay in nonfiction TV,” said Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “Writer-producers know how important collective bargaining is to improving their working conditions and to building sustainable careers.”
Writer-producers have voted in favor of WGAE representation in every election since the union started organizing in nonfiction TV five years ago. In addition to Leftfield, WGAE represents writer-producers at the ITV-owned Kirkstall Road Enterprises, Original Media, Sharp Entertainment, Optomen Prods, Lion TV and Jane Street Entertainment.