Today a few people described (and also sent in anonymously to be read) their experiences day to day working in television production, and how the current conditions are for the hard-working, skilled laborers in this profession. There were also testimonies from the Writer’s Guild of America East and one other labor union. They discussed the high cost of healthcare and that it is extremely rarely provided for by the workplace, the number of hours expected to work with or without overtime pay and/or lunch, and the sometimes dangerous working conditions. They also argued that the industry cannot claim poverty, when the profit margins have never been so high.
NYC Council case details:
Oversight – The Real Reality – Working Conditions in the Nonfiction and Reality Television Industry in NYC.
It’s interesting timing, considering today’s Cynopsis newsletter:
“For the first time, less than half of TV drama pilots were filmed in LA, according a report from FilmL.A. detailing the city’s ongoing loss of new TV projects. In the 2013/2014 development season, New York had drama 24 pilots, while the L.A. had 19.”
I. Daneek Miller, the chairman of the Committee on Civil Service & Labor, conducted the session. His background is as a Union activist and community organizer fighting for transportation, child care and other issues facing working people. For more, see his Bio.
Councilman Miller concluded the session with disappointment that the production companies asked to take part did not show up. He was informed that instead they will send testimony but will answer no questions.
Will the hearings stall New York’s rapidly ballooning entertainment industry? Or will the timing be just right for a sea change?
Stay tuned as the case progresses!