TVBizwire

Hearings to Be Held on Reality Shows' Alleged Sweatshop Conditions Deadline

After allegations of “sweatshop”-like working conditions, hearings will be held June 25 by the New York City Council to investigate shows taped in the city, reports Deadline.com.

“The overwhelming majority of nonfiction shows shot there are nonunion, with many workers complaining about long hours without overtime pay and no health benefits,” the story says.

WGA East Executive Director Lowell Peterson will testify about working conditions, as well as alleged wage violations and a lack of health insurance, the story reports. The guild has been working to organize writers and producers involved with reality shows, and has signed contracts with three out of the more than 20 companies working in New York on reality programs. Each company employs more than 50 writer-producers, the report notes.

“We’re making real progress, and the City Council and the mayor are very interested in improving working conditions,” Peterson said.

Peterson noted that reality shows are “a growing part of the television industry in New York,” and said, “We’re paying a lot of attention to it.”

The report adds: "Out on the West Coast, the WGA West is going about organizing reality shows more quietly. Shows it’s organized include 'Unusual Suspects' and 'Hollywood and Crime' for Investigation Discovery, and 'Crown Chasers' for TLC."

Said Neal Sacharow, spokesman for WGA West: “If there are folks here in reality who are ready to organize, we’re always ready to talk to them."