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NBCU Files Labor Complaint Against WGA

Aug 18, 2006  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging labor law violations by the Writers Guild of America.

The complaint claims the WGA has asked writers and producers on programs such as NBC’s “The Office” and Sci Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica” to cease working on Web-only episodes. The complaint claims the webisodes are already covered under current guild contract and urges the NLRB to compel staffers to resume work. NBCU claims webisode production has been at a standstill since June.

Networks often spend about $5,000 or less to produce a webisode that typically has a running time of two to four minutes. With little to no advertising revenue generated by the content, networks are reluctant to pay writers for Internet reuse, instead arguing the content is strictly promotional.

That the WGA has also rallied producers, who are not represented by the WGA, is unusual. The affected shows include NBC’s “Crossing Jordan,” “The Office,” “Heroes” and Sci Fi’s “Battlestar Galactica.” The WGA did not respond to a request for comment.