WGA Files Complaint With National Labor Relations Board

The Writers Guild of America filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television producers violated federal labor law the day negotiations to end the writers strike broke down on Dec. 7.

The unfair labor practices complaint, filed with the federal agency Thursday, refers to a letter presented by AMPTP negotiator Nick Counter to WGA negotiator David Young on the last day of active negotiations.

The letter states that the AMPTP asked that six issues be withdrawn from consideration in order for negotiations to continue. In subsequent statements, the two sides confirmed that such issues included whether the WGA will have jurisdiction over writers for reality and animation series.

The WGA complaint asserts that the NLRB has long held that an employer may not require a union to resolve specific proposals as a precondition to discussing other subjects.

“Such conduct frustrates the bargaining obligation and, as here, effectively stalls negotiations preventing substantive discussion from taking place,” WGA wrote in the letter to NLRB Region 31 regional director James McDermott.

In announcing the complaint, the WGA reiterated its demand that the AMPTP immediately return to the negotiations.

The AMPTP referred to the NLRB filing as “table pounding” by the WGA.

“The WGA’s filing of a complaint with the NLRB reminds us of the old lawyers’ adage: When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. And when you don't have either the law or the facts on your side, you pound the table. The WGA has now been reduced to pounding the table, and this baseless, desperate NLRB complaint is just the latest indication that the WGA’s negotiating strategy has achieved nothing for working writers,” the trade group said.