NBC Accused of Labor Violation Over Sleazy Union-Busting Scheme

The Writers Guild of America says NBC is renaming a nonfiction production company to avoid adhering to a labor agreement.
April 15, 2020, 3:01pm
Photo by Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Writers Guild of America, East said today it is filing an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against NBCUniversal.

Almost four years after Peacock Productions, NBC’s in-house nonfiction production company, voted to unionize with the WGAE, and a little more than a year after the company and the union ratified a collectively-bargained contract, the guild says, NBC is now busting the union by superficially reconfiguring Peacock Productions and giving it a new name.


In a statement, the WGAE said:

In January 2020 Peacock notified the WGAE that it would no longer employ writer-producers at Peacock. Instead, the company said it would continue to produce nonfiction programs at another part of the NBC News operation, which apparently will have the name "NBC News Studios".

The WGAE said NBC admitted that a number of former Peacock Productions employees would work at the “new” company and that all of the “key leadership” from Peacock Productions would be transferred to NBC News Studios. Essentially, the guild says, NBC is continuing the work of Peacock Productions with many of the same workers, but the company is “refusing to apply the WGAE collective bargaining agreement to any of those employees.”

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The executive director of WGAE, Lowell Peterson, said in the statement:

“This cynical maneuver is intended to bust the union, to continue the company's years-long effort to reject its employees' decision to be part of the WGAE and to bargaining collectively on critical workplace issues.”

VICE workers are also unionized with WGAE.

NBCUniversal did not immediately respond to a request for comment; this post will be updated with their response.

Update 2:15 p.m. ET: An NBC spokesperson said, “We have not seen the filing yet, but based on what’s in press reports, we strongly refute what’s being alleged. We have, in writing, requested to meet several times with the WGA East, and they have not responded. We continue to welcome the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with them.”

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