NBC Universal Writers Pen Letter Supporting Comcast Writers

9:34 AM PST 12/08/2010 by Jonathan Handel

Letter asserts Comcast CEO promised at Congressional hearing “‘to continue the good relations with the guilds and with the unions that NBC Universal has.’”

The WGA’s effort to represent Comcast writers is heating up, with a number of NBC Universal writers signing a letter of support, the WGA said Wednesday.

The letter was unequivocal: “We believe that Comcast Entertainment Group’s writers should have what we have, a WGA contract that provides portable pension and health benefits, fair payment for reuse and resale of their material, reasonable minimums and other appropriate employment terms.”

The letter then asserts that , “On February 25th, 2010, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts testified at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, saying: ‘And so one of our commitments upfront is we hope to continue the good relations with the guilds and with the unions that NBC Universal has.’”

A Comcast spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Cable entertainment writers at Comcast Entertainment Group are seeking WGA representation and the cable giant is resisting, insisting on a ballot supervised by the National Labor Relations Board.

A group calling themselves the Organized Writers of Comcast Entertainment Group has previously asserted that requiring a ballot is counter to custom and practice in the industry.

The writers, who create programming for CEG networks E!, Style, and G4, say that 80% of the affected writing staff have signed cards requesting representation by the guild.

The letter was signed by writers with shows airing on NBCU’s broadcast or cable channels or whose shows are produced by NBCU. The WGA statement did not disclose how many writers signed on. A WGA spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The Comcast shows that the WGA seeks to organize are Attack of the Show, Chelsea Lately, E! News, E! Specials, Fashion Police, G4 Specials, The Dish, The Soup, Web Soup, and X-Play.

“The vast majority of us have made it clear we want WGA representation but, there is no way to reach a deal that is fair to both sides if the company won't bargain with us,” said The Soup writer Greg Fideler.

If the Comcast-NBCU merger is approved, then both the unionized and so far non-union writers would be working for subsidiaries of the same entity.

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