Peacock Productions hits back at WGA in dispute over election

Nik Wallenda, star of "Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda," at the Grand Canyon.
(Jason Elias / Discovery)

Peacock Productions, the NBCU-owned company embroiled in a labor dispute with the Writers Guild of America, fired back at the union on Tuesday.

Writers from “Saturday Night Live” and many other shows on the NBC and USA networks this week wrote a letter to Comcast/NBCU CEO Stephen Burke urging him to respect the results of a recent union election by employees of NBCU-owned Peacock Productions. Employees have been seeking to join the union for more than a year and voted in June to do so.

But the company, which produces nonfiction cable network shows, including “Caught on Camera” and “Skywire Live With Nik Wallenda,” is seeking on Tuesday to nullify the election results on the grounds that the workers are supervisors not entitled to rights under the National Labor Relations Act. The National Labor Relations Board is reviewing the dispute.

PHOTOS: Cable versus broadcast ratings


“We believe that Peacock’s producers hold meaningful supervisory authority, which, according to Federal Labor Law, excludes them from voting,” NBCU said in a statement Tuesday. “The Board decided to review the Regional Director’s decision and is currently in the process of doing so.”

Peacock also disputed a claim from the New York-based WGA, East that the company was blocking the votes from being counted.

“Prior to the June 14 vote, we asked the NLRB to review the Regional Director’s decision regarding the supervisory status of Peacock’s freelance producers. The NLRB granted us a review,’' the company said in its statement. “As is part of the normal process, the votes were impounded by the NLRB until a decision is made. We are still waiting for the NLRB to render their decision, which is why no votes have been counted.”

The guild has been waging a campaign to organize writer-producers in the fast-growing sector of nonfiction basic cable programming since 2009.


‘Saturday Night Live’ writers protest NBCU’s handling of union election

Writers Guild of America negotiates contracts with reality TV producers

Workers settle reality TV lawsuits