What’s needed in the industry is a counter to the downward pressure being put on budgets, production schedules, and rates. To create this counter, creative professionals need to cooperate across the industry from company to company. Individual production companies may be in competition with one another, but the freelancers who create their shows share a common interest in working together to apply some upward pressure on the market.
To that end, we need to build an organization that is industry-wide. The companies that have already gone union have made some real improvements as a result, but in order to make significant changes in the industry, producers need to organize EVERYWHERE.
We need to see a critical mass of production companies in New York go union before we can expect the industry to bargain with the Guild as a whole. In order to reach this point we need to hold union votes at as many companies as we can as quickly as we can.
Even if you like your current boss or you’ve got a really good deal on your current show, organizing with the Guild is important. We have to build an organization that represents the best of the industry, not the worst. If we want the clout to make the networks change, we need everyone on board, INCLUDING YOU!
Any non-union production shop in New York can go union. The process to call for a union vote is confidential and is protected by federal law. Any shop where the majority votes for a union will have to negotiate a contract with the Guild that covers the people who work for that particular shop. These individual contracts can cover minimum rates, health insurance, paid time off, or any other issues that are important to the employees of that particular company.
Once the Guild represents enough companies in the market, we can demand that the industry negotiate with the union as a whole. Having one contract that covers the majority of production companies in town will not only allow freelancers to have consistent health insurance, pensions, and standard minimum rates- it also will allow the Guild to work together with union production companies to put pressure on networks, to put pressure on non-union production companies that don’t agree to pay industry-wide minimums, to work with legislators on policy that is important to the nonfiction television industry, and to promote the work of creative professionals in New York at all levels.
Contact us: http://nonfictionunited.org/contact/