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Nick Writers Want WGA

In an election supervised by assemblyman Paul Koretz, chair of the California Assembly Committee on Labor and Employment, the writers from six of Nickelodeons animated series voted 19 to 2 in favor of Writers Guild of America, west (WGAw) representation. Sequoia Voting Systems, an independent company that provides election services to unions and state and local governments, received and counted the ballots. The WGAw reports that the election, held at Nickelodeon Studios on October 3, 2001, was conducted using National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) procedures for union elections, although they admit it was not under official NLRB auspices. Because of this, Nickelodeon is claiming that the election was not legally binding and was merely a "publicity stunt." The WGAw feels as though the overwhelming majority solidifies their position as the rightful representatives of Nick animation writers. "We held this election to demonstrate to Nickelodeon that it is time to begin the dialogue for a contract for these writers," said Victoria Riskin, President, WGAw. "Nickelodeon representatives continue to state that they must wait for an NLRB conducted election before these writers can receive the benefit of union representation. Nickelodeon has voluntarily recognized the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA as the bargaining representatives of performers on these shows without any election whatsoever. We call on company president Albie Hecht to live up to his reputation as a friend of talent and to respect the rights of his employees."