Editors Strike Against Mark Burnett’s ‘Survivor’ For Union Contract

Post-production crew for CBS reality series walks out in pursuit of benefits

The editors of CBS’ reality TV hit “Survivor” have voted themselves off the job. At least for the time being.

The post-production crew for the series halted work on the series, going on strike while demanding a union contract.

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The crew said that editorial work on the series, which is due to return for its 29th season Sept. 24, would stop until the union contracts are secured.

On Tuesday, the crew notified its employer that they intended to obtain a union contract with health and retirement benefits.

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Motion Picture Editors Guild board of directors member A.J. Catoline contends that the employment practices of “Survivor” lag behind industry standards, including those of CBS’ “Big Brother” and NBC’s “The Voice” — which, like “Survivor,” is produced by Burnett.

“This show has no hidden ‘immunity idol,’” Catoline said. “It needs to bring its employment practices in line with the industry standards observed by other such shows, including CBS’ ‘Big Brother’ and Mark Burnett‘s ‘The Voice.’ Its post crew deserves the benefits and security of a union contract.”

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CBS and Mark Burnett Productions have not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The Motion Picture Editors Guild is instructing members and prospective members not to provide services to the series until the strike is resolved.

Alan Heim, president of the Editors Guild, which is Local 700 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, contends that the members are deserving of the benefits, particularly in light of the series’ commercial and critical success.

“This wildly successful program has helped to define the genre of reality television, and editors play a critical role in shaping the show” Heim said. “They seek the same health benefits, pensions, and basic protections that their counterparts elsewhere in the industry have long enjoyed. After 28 successful seasons and 16 Emmy nominations, that doesn’t seem too much to ask.”

According to Rob Callahan, a national organizer for the Picture Editors Guild, there are currently a “couple of dozen” employees involved in the strike. He expects more to join as the season ramps up.