WGA East Touts Concession by ITV Over Bargaining

AP Photo/Reed Saxon

The company’s New York-based Kirkstall Road Enterprises continues to be a focus of the union’s organizing efforts.

There’s no love lost between the Writers Guild of America, East, and ITV, it appears, in the wake of back-to-back press releases from the union accusing the company of violating federal labor law.

The statements highlighted a notice that ITV-owned Kirkstall Road Enterprises agreed to send to its workers -- but the larger battle is that almost five years after Kirkstall employees voted for WGAE representation, there’s still no contract with the union.

The WGAE said “the company has engaged in bad-faith bargaining since that time in an effort to thwart its employees’ decision to unionize.”

The latest salvo relates to the guild’s request for information regarding the company’s health plan. In a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board, Kirkstall agreed to provide the information and to advise employees that it would not interfere with their right to unionize. The settlement arises out of unfair labor practice charges the WGAE filed against the company several months ago, the union said, adding that the NLRB is still investigating several additional charges against ITV.

“We are pleased the company has notified its employees it will not violate their right to union representation,” said WGAE executive director Lowell Peterson in a statement. “We look forward to receiving the health benefits information we are entitled to review under the law. We remain utterly mystified that a giant multinational media corporation like ITV continues to engage in legalistic maneuvers to avoid negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with the WGAE. This is not a viable business strategy for a media company trying to expand its presence in the U.S. television market.”

ITV did not provide comment in response to a request.

The WGAE has previously accused ITV of failing to pay overtime. The union has made reality TV a priority, and reached agreements in the last several years with nonfiction companies Sharp Entertainment, Optomen and Lion Television.

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