U.K.-Based Non-Fiction House Lion TV Joins the WGA

Writers behind Discovery's “Cash Cab,” MTV's “Megadrive and other cable reality shows vote to join the Writers Guild of America East

Further infiltrating the ranks of cable non-fiction programming, the Writers Guild of America East announced Wednesday that scribes for U.K.-based production house Lion TV have voted to join their union.

Lion TV produces reality series including Discovery's "Cash Cab," MTV's "Megadrive" and PBS' "History Detectives" and "America Revealed."

Here's the full WGA press release:

WRITERS AND PRODUCERS AT LION TELEVISION

VOTE TO JOIN WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST

- Guild Wins 3rd NLRB Vote in Non-Fiction TV Campaign -

NEW YORK CITY – In its third key organizing victory in its recently launched non-fiction campaign, writers and producers who work on non-fiction television programming for Lion Television have voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE). These employees produce shows such as Cash Cab for Discovery Network, Megadrive for MTV, and History Detectives and America Revealed for PBS. The Lion Television bargaining unit will include almost 100 people employed as writers, producers, associate producers and researchers.

This is the third NLRB election the Guild has won in its new industry-wide campaign to organize the largely non-unionized non-fiction sector of the TV industry. The Guild has recently won the majority of votes in NLRB elections held at two non-fiction TV production companies, Atlas Media (BiographyDr. G: Medical Examiner, American Eats)and ITV Studios (The First 48 and Four Weddings).

The Lion Television vote was 23 to 22, despite the company waging a long aggressive anti-union campaign. Employees seek to gain benefits like healthcare, pension, improved compensation and reasonable working hours by becoming WGAE members.

“The employees have joined their colleagues at other companies and have voted to be represented by the Writers Guild. We look forward to working with them to improve their conditions and we welcome them into our creative community. We hope Lion will respect their decision and will begin productive negotiations with us as soon as possible,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson.

“Our union has long represented non-fiction writers at PBS, one of Lion Television’s biggest clients. As a writer for public television myself I know how valuable Guild membership has been for my colleagues and me. Among other great personal and professional benefits, it can be the difference between having health insurance and pension contributions or being out there entirely on your own. So we welcome Lion Television writers and producers into the Writers Guild of America, East. Their hard work has made Lion’s shows profitable and they deserve fair compensation,” said WGAE President Michael Winship.

The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The WGAE conducts programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to, and on behalf of, writers. In addition, it represents writers’ interests on the legislative level.  For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org.