WGA: 'Payne' writers fired for organizing

Tyler Perry Studios claims scribes were let go for cause

Four writers involved with a WGA organizing effort at writer-director-producer Tyler Perry's cable TV show "House of Payne" have been fired.

The company says they were fired for cause, but the union said Thursday that they were dismissed because they were involved in the organizing effort. The WGA West plans to picket Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta when it opens this weekend.

The guild claims that the problems began in April when the writers -- Kellie Griffin, Christopher Moore, Teri Brown-Jackson and Lamont Ferrell -- were among seven scribes seeking to negotiate a first WGA contract with Perry's production company, House of Payne. The company produces "House of Payne" and the upcoming TBS show "Meet the Browns." No contract has been signed.

Perry's attorney, Matt Johnson, said that the four were fired because of poor work performance. Griffin, Moore, Brown-Jackson and Ferrell had worked on more than 100 episodes of Perry's TBS series, now syndicated on Fox. The three remaining writers were asked to stay on, and two did.

"We continue to work toward a resolution of their contract," Johnson said.

The WGA has filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board, claiming the four were fired unjustly and that Payne's company bargained in bad faith.
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