Writers union says studios broke law

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champThe “baseless, desperate NLRB complaint is just the latest indication that the WGA’s negotiating strategy has achieved nothing for working writers,” the producers fired back in a prepared statement. The labor board did not immediately return a call to its Los Angeles office. The guild said in its statement that it was “a clear violation of federal law for the AMPTP to issue an ultimatum and break off negotiations if we fail to cave to their illegal demands.” It also said it was irresponsible for the alliance to break off talks in the midst of the holiday season, “with thousands of our members and the membership of other unions out of work.” It’s not unusual for opposing sides in a labor dispute to file such complaints in an attempt to turn up the bargaining pressure, said Daniel J.B. Mitchell, a professor of management and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. The guild said it expects the labor board to assign an investigator and complete an inquiry within 30 days. Generally, if the board decides a complaint has merit, it can require a hearing that could lead to an order to resume bargaining in good faith or punitive measures such as fines. Jonathan Handel, an entertainment attorney and former associate counsel for the writers guild, said the union made an “ill-considered and inflammatory” move that jeopardizes back-channel efforts to restart talks. “The AMPTP would not want to look like it’s caving into a legal threat,” Handel said. The complaint came on the same day the Directors Guild of America said it may open its own contract negotiations with studios next month, a move that’s expected to put more pressure on writers to reach an agreement. A quick deal by directors could undercut the bargaining power of writers by serving as an industry template for new media and other issues.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Union officials representing striking Hollywood writers said Thursday they filed an unfair labor practices complaint claiming studios violated federal law by breaking off negotiations. The Writers Guild of America also demanded that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers return to the bargaining so the six-week strike can be ended and thousands of workers idled by the walkout can return to their jobs. Negotiations broke off Dec. 7 when the alliance refused to bargain further unless the union dropped a half-dozen proposals that included the authority to unionize writers on reality shows and animation projects. The producers alliance criticized the complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board. last_img read more