Editors Walk Out on History's 'Swamp People'

4:14 PM PST 02/19/2013 by Jonathan Handel
"Swamp People"

The Motion Picture Editors Guild has instructed members and potential members not to work for the show, which is produced by a subsidiary of Endemol.

The editorial crew of Swamp People has walked off the job as a result of a dispute with the show’s producers, Original Media, according to a post on the Motion Picture Editors Guild website. Original, a subsidiary of Endemol, produces the reality show for History.

The guild post says that the walkout is due to an “unfair labor practice ... unlawfully interfer(ing) with employees' rights under the National Labor Relations Act by interrogating employees about union organizing activity.”

It’s not clear from the post whether the union, which operates as IATSE Local 700, has filed an Unfair Labor Practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.

The post also instructs “members and potential members” of the union not to service the production until further notice and asks that people email the guild if they learn of attempts to replace the striking members.

IATSE has an ongoing campaign of attempting to organize reality and other unscripted shows. In the past year, the effort has resulted in agreements with Profiles Entertainment (TNT’s The Great Escape) and Electus (NBC’s Fashion Star), among others.

The WGA East also has been active in organizing this area. As with the IATSE campaign, the WGAE effort has been on a show-by-show basis. The WGA -- West and East -- sought blanket jurisdiction over reality as a negotiating point in the 2007-08 writers strike, but that level of union coverage proved to be a nonstarter.

Neither the editors guild nor the company responded to a request for comment.

Bookmark The Hollywood Reporter’s Labor Page for the most in-depth coverage of entertainment unions and guilds.

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