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WGA, East lodges complaint against Atlas Media

November 16, 2012|By Richard Verrier
  • The cast of the TLC TV series "Big Sexy": Leslie, Heather, Audrey, Tiffany and Nikki.
The cast of the TLC TV series "Big Sexy": Leslie, Heather, Audrey,… (TLC )

The producers of reality TV shows "Big Law: Deputy Butterbean," "Big Sexy" and "Hotel Impossible" are locked in a labor dispute with the Writers Guild of America, East.

The WGA, East said it filed "unfair labor practice charges" with the National Labor Relations Board against Atlas Media Corp. for "continued violation of labor laws" in New York City.

"Atlas Media Corporation is operating as if labor law does not exist in NYC,” said Justin Molito, organizing director of the WGA, East in a statement. “They have repeatedly violated laws, including mis-classifying employees as independent contractors and neglecting to pay overtime."

The guild said it has attempted for more than a year to bargain a contract on behalf of Atlas employees and alleged that the company had thwarted its efforts.

Atlas Media said in a statement that it had been negotiating in good faith with the union. The company added that the guild's complaint to the labor board came after an overwhelming majority of bargaining unit members had signed a petition "expressing an unqualified desire" to remove the guild as their bargaining representative.

"Based on the petition presented to us, it is crystal clear that the vast majority of Atlas Media producers, associate producers and coordinating producers want the freedom to bargain directly with Atlas media when it comes to terms and conditions of employment."

The WGA, East has been stepping up efforts to unionize writers who work in the nonfiction television sector.The guild recently signed agreements with New York-based reality TV producers Lion Television and Optomen Productions, among about 20 producers the guild is attempting to unionize.

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