The Real Cost of Reality TV

How the Nonfiction Television Industry Steals Tens of Millions of Dollars from New York Ta !ayers

"#$% &'( Re!ort on Nonfiction Television

)*)C+TIV) S+MM(RY
$

The &riters 'uild of (merica, )ast conducted a study of workin- conditions for nonfiction writers and !roducers in .uly and (u-ust "#$%/ The study found that violations of New York wa-e and hour laws are endemic in the nonfiction television industry/ (lmost all the writer0!roducers in our study are incorrectly classified 1y the !roduction com!anies as e em!t em!loyees, who work lon- hours 1ut receive no overtime !ay, amon- other violations/ 2ack !ay and !enalties for these violations amounts to a!!ro imately 34# million every year, and !erha!s considera1ly more/ The lia1ility mi-ht 1e the shared res!onsi1ility of !roduction com!anies, !ayroll com!anies, and networks/

New York5 Media Ca!ital of the &orld
New York City has lon- 1een known as the 6media ca!ital of the world/7/ 8eadin- com!anies in all areas of the international media industry have their head9uarters here/ New York is a center of advertisin- and !u1lishin-, TV networks and live theater, as well as television and film !roduction/ New York City has more media :o1s than any other city on the !lanet/ $ ;ne key reason media com!anies want to 1e here is the e istence of a world<class community of creative talent/ The visual media industry 1y itself is an im!ortant !art of New York City=s economy/ >ilm and television !roduction in New York now em!loys $%#,### !eo!le, an increase of %#,### :o1s since "##4/"

Nonfiction Ca!tures (n )ver 8ar-er Market Share
Nonfiction and 6reality7 TV !ro-rams have achieved ratin-s success that rivals or 1eats scri!ted !ro-rams/ Nonfiction is often more !rofita1le for networks, 1ecause it is much chea!er to !roduce, lar-ely due to lower la1or costs/ >or these reasons, nonfiction !ro-rammin- has ca!tured an ever lar-er market share/ In "##$, 6reality7 shows accounted for only a1out "#? of !rime<time television !ro-rammin-/ Today they account for 4#?/ %

@rofits (re )normous
(nalysts descri1e the !rofit mar-ins in ca1le television as 6eye<!o!!in-/7 The avera-e mar-in is almost 4#?/ The most eye<!o!!in- !rofit mar-ins are at networks that !ro-ram mostly nonfiction/ >or e am!le, the Discovery network AB$%
$ " %

6Media/NYC/"#"#,7New York City )conomic Develo!ment Cor!oration, "#$$/ 6News so -ood youCd like to frame it5 >ilm 1iD 1ooms,7 New York Daily News, May E, "#$"/ &riters 'uild of (merica )ast re!ort, "#$"/

"

in total revenueF has one of the hi-hest !rofit mar-ins in the industry, at nearly G#?/4

Standards for Contin-ent &orkers (re ( 'rowin- Social @ro1lem
Nonfiction television em!loys many youn- writer0!roducers in their "#s and %#s, as well as veterans of the industry/ Most of these writer0!roducers do not have full< time staff :o1s, 1ut are !art of the 6inde!endent workforce7 Afreelancers, tem!s, inde!endent contractors, !art<timers, and the self<em!loyedF which now makes u! fully a third of all (merican workers/ H The difficulties faced 1y contin-ent workers are a -rowin- social !ro1lem/ The -a! 1etween rich and !oor constrains the economy, and when workin- !eo!le without health insurance -et sick or in:ured, it !uts a strain on our health care system/ In addition, the violations of la1or law collectively known as 6wa-e theft7 affect not only nonfiction TV !roducers and many other workers, 1ut also -overnments and local economies/ Nearly 3$ 1illion is stolen from workers in New York each year, and wa-e theft costs at least 34"I million a year in lost revenue to New York state/ Nonfiction writer0!roducers are dealin- with the same economic insecurity and decline in livin- standards that most (mericans face today/ Real wa-es are fallin-, and workin- conditions are -ettin- worse, in many !laces, even as the com!anies -ain more !rofits/

J)Y >INDIN'S
&orkin- Hours
• • • K4 ? of writer0!roducers work more than 4# hours a week almost every week G#? work more than K hours a day, every day KH? never receive overtime !ay

Timecards
• • ;nly $$? said their timecards always reflected the hours they worked 4E? said their timecards 6never7 accurately reflected hours worked

4 H

SN8 Ja-an, TV Network Summary, Total Net Revenue and Cash >low Mar-in, "#$"/ 6Inde!endent, Innovative, and +n!rotected5 How the ;ld Safety Net Is >ailin- (merica=s New &orkforce,7 >reelancers +nion study, "#$#/

%

&a-e and Hour Violations
• @roduction com!anies, !ayroll com!anies and networks involved in nonfiction TV !roduction may 1e facin- si-nificant wa-e and hour lia1ility, at least 34# million, due to their failure to5

o o o

@ay overtime @rovide meal !eriods )nsure accurate record kee!in-

R)C;MM)ND(TI;NS
@eo!le should 1e a1le to 1uild sustaina1le careers workin- in nonfiction 1asic ca1le television/ (s this re!ort documents, ca1le networks -enerate ra!idly increasin- revenues !roducin- and 1roadcastin- more and more hours of nonfiction content/ If 1asic standards can 1e esta1lished across the industry, men and women can earn a reasona1le livin- without 1urnin- out on $H<hour workdays, and can en:oy the health and retirement 1enefits everyone needs to live a healthy, !roductive life and to raise a family if they choose/ This is not :ust a fundamental human ri-htL our e !erience re!resentin- writers and writer<!roducers elsewhere in the television and film 1usiness su--ests that it is also -ood 1usiness/ Havin- a sta1le, e !erienced, committed workforce would ena1le the networks and !roduction com!anies to !roduce 9uality content that viewers want to watch, so audiences will e !and and dee!en and revenues will continue to increase/ < The networks must a-ree to more reasona1le 1ud-ets and !roduction schedules/ This isn=t rocket scienceL there must 1e enou-h money to hire enou-h !eo!le to do the work, and they must have enou-h time to accom!lish it/ The !ressure to 1urn !eo!le out with insane hours, overwork, low !ay, and no 1enefits 1e-ins at the to!/

<

History demonstrates that the sure way to 1uild a floor of reasona1le com!ensation, 1enefits, and workin- conditions is with collective 1ar-ainin-/ Collective 1ar-ainin- em!owers the em!loyees themselves to come to-ether to fi-ure out what works 1est and what is achieva1le/ The &'() remains committed to its industry<wide or-aniDin- cam!ai-n and we antici!ate that, :ust as the 'uild and other unions have done with decades of work in the 1roader entertainment industry, we can raise standards to the !oint that !eo!le can make a livin- doin- the work they care a1out/ 4

<

(t the same time, others in the !rivate and !u1lic sectors can have a real im!act/ )lected officials and enforcement a-encies can investi-ate violations of e istin- laws M in !articular, wa-e and hour laws M and can consider additional enactments to !rotect the men and women who work so hard in this industry/ Com!anies that choose to 1reak the law and mistreat their em!loyees should not -ain unfair com!etitive advanta-e/

<

(ll of the stakeholders Aelected officials and enforcement a-encies, networks, !roduction com!anies, and em!loyeesF can develo! a code of conduct which would create the conditions for !eo!le to 1uild solid careers creatinnonfiction television !ro-rams/

INTR;D+CTI;N
In order to assess the workin- conditions in nonfiction TV, the &riters 'uild of (merica, )ast A&'()F conducted a survey of nonfiction writer0!roducers in .uly and (u-ust "#$%/ The survey reveals that the com!anies actin- as em!loyers in this industry are not com!lyin- with la1or law and may face si-nificant financial e !osure to wa-e and hour lia1ility/ This is es!ecially true in li-ht of the &a-e Theft @rotection (ct A&T@(F, which 1ecame effective in New York State in (!ril "#$$/ The &hite @a!er also includes a series of recommendations for how the television industry could come into com!liance and im!rove conditions for writer0!roducers/

New York City5 Media Ca!ital of the &orld
New York City has lon- 1een known as the 6media ca!ital of the world/7/ It is home to some of the world=s lar-est media con-lomerates, includin- Time &arner, News Cor!oration, Hearst and Viacom/ Seven of the worldCs to! ei-ht -lo1al advertisina-ency networks are head9uartered in New York, as well as three of the 2i- >our music com!anies/ The ma-aDine and 1ook !u1lishin- industries are 1ased here/ The four lar-est 1roadcast TV networks and several ca1le networks are head9uartered here/ (nd New York is (merica=s lar-est media market/

H

;ne of the reasons media com!anies want to 1e here is New York=s world<class community of creative talent/ That talent !ool is increasin-ly en-a-ed in the !roduction of nonfiction Aincludin- 6reality7 and documentaryF television/

Nonfiction vs/ Scri!ted Television @roduction
In "##$, 6reality7 shows accounted for a1out "#? of all !rime<time television !ro-rammin-/ Today they account for nearly 4#?/ In ca1le, some channels now dedicate as much as E#? of their content to 6reality7 !ro-rammin-/ G >our of the to! ten and ei-ht of the to! twenty<five hi-hest<rated !rimetime shows in the "#$"< $% season were 6reality7 or nonfiction shows/I &hile some of the lon-est<runninhits, like American Idol, are down si-nificantly from their !eak, they are still amonthe hi-hest<rated shows on television/ These shows are not only !o!ular, they are !rofita1le < es!ecially for the networks and com!anies that rely so heavily on them/ The main !rofit driver is that nonfiction shows cost far less to !roduce than scri!ted shows/ The most !o!ular nonfiction shows create massive revenue (ND !rofit mar-ins/ >or e am!le, in "##K, American Idol -enerated 3EG million in revenue for its !roduction com!any, $E )ntertainment M and its -ross !rofit mar-in on the show was II?/ K @art of the reason that !rofits are so hi-h in this case is that this show -enerates si-nificant revenue throu-h several different streams 1eyond advertisin-, includinlicensin-, 1rand e tensions, and ancillary revenue such as mana-ement contracts with Idol contestants/ However, even shows with far smaller audiences and ancillary revenue than American Idol can 1e !rofita1le, 1ecause of the s!read 1etween revenue and the cost of !roduction/ This can 1e seen in the !rofit mar-in num1ers for ca1le networks that !ro-ram !rimarily nonfiction/

Nonfiction N Ca1le O Su!er @rofits
2oth revenue and !rofit mar-ins in the ca1le network industry are enormous, and have -rown steadily over the years/ The ca1le network industry=s total revenue Aadvertisin- !lus license feesF was u! H/%? in "#$", to 3H"/% 1illion/ E Revenue has
G I

6&hatCs wron- with reality TVP7, .on 'in-erich, ;CDwyerCs, May "#$$/ 6(mericaCs Most &atched5 The To! "H Shows of the "#$"<"#$% TV Season,7 Michael Schneider, TV 'uide, G0$#0"#$%/ K CJ*, Inc/ financial statements Aowner of $E )ntertainmentF/ E 6Ca1le Network Revenue +! H/%? In "#$", Cash >low Virtually >lat,7 Derek 2aine, SN8 Ja-an , 40%#0$%

G

-rown nearly $#? !er year on avera-e, every year since "##H/ It would 1e over $#?, e ce!t for a recession<driven dro! in "##E to H? -rowth/ "#$% revenue -rowth is forecast to hit $#? a-ain/$# Discovery is the hi-hest<ranked nonfiction network AB$%F with a1out 3$/$ 1illion/ $$ 2ut the nonfiction networks lead the field in !rofita1ility/

6)ye<@o!!in-7 @rofits
(nalysts descri1e the !rofit mar-ins in this industry as 6eye<!o!!in-,7 causininvestors to 6flock to the sector/7 ADiscovery=s stock is u! more than H#? in "#$%/F The avera-e mar-in is almost 4#?/ This is es!ecially noteworthy 1ecause there are a num1er of networks with well<1elow<avera-e mar-ins, !articularly s!orts networks, whose !ro-rammin- is relatively e !ensive A)S@N had a "4? mar-in in "##EF/ $" Nonfiction networks= !rofit mar-ins drive u! the industry avera-e/ In "#$", the T8C network led all ca1le networks with a !rofit mar-in of G#?/ The Discovery network was ri-ht 1ehind T8C at HK?/ )ven much lower<rated networks had hi-h !rofit mar-ins5 National 'eo-ra!hic at H"?, and Investi-ation Discovery at %H?/

More Than 4#? of To! Ca1le Networks are Nonfiction
Most of the revenue in the ca1le industry -oes to the to! %# networks/ ;f these, 4%? are heavily reliant on nonfictionL the rest are more focused on scri!ted !ro-rammin-, s!orts, or news/$%

Nonfiction vs/ Scri!ted @ro-rammin-5 (vera-e Show 2ud-ets
The cost differential 1etween scri!ted and nonfiction shows drives !rofits/ ( to! nonfiction show on the History ca1le network mi-ht have an e!isode 1ud-et 1etween 3""H,### and 34"H,### !er e!isode/ $4 History airs some of the hi-hest< rated shows on ca1le, includin- Pawn Stars Acurrently avera-in- 4/G million viewersF, which re-ularly 1eats one of its to! scri!ted com!etitors on Sunday ni-ht, the critically acclaimed Mad Men/ ;ther nonfiction -enres and shows have even lower 1ud-ets, in the 3$##,### ran-e or 1elow/

$# $$

I1id/ SN8 Ja-an, Ca1le Network Com!arison, "#$"/ $" 6Ca1le networks on solid financial footin-,7 Derek 2aine, SN8 Ja-an, $#0"E0$# $% &'() study, "#$$/ $4 6&hat Does History @ay for @ro-rammin-P,7 @eter Hamilton, documentarytelevision/com,%0$#0"#$#/

I

2y contrast, Royal Pains, a hit scri!ted show on the +S( ca1le network, has an e!isode 1ud-et 1etween 3" and 3"/H million < seven times as much as a History network show/ Royal Pains avera-es a1out %/G million viewers/ Nonfiction shows are much chea!er even on the 1roadcast television side/ To!< rated American Idol on >o re!ortedly has an e!isode 1ud-et of a1out 3" million, $H whereas a scri!ted show, even a mid<siDe hit like Blue Bloods or Person of Interest, is 1ud-eted at closer to 34 million/ 2oth the 1roadcast and ca1le scri!ted shows tend to have far more union workers, from camera crews to actors to writers and !roducers/ These workers are not only !aid more in -eneral, 1ut receive 1enefits, and often have !artici!ation in the financial success of a show/ 2oth workers and !roduction com!anies at nonfiction ty!ically share far less of the !rofits than their collea-ues in scri!ted TV/

) ecutive @ay 6;ut of &hack7
These hi-h !rofits, and investor interest drivin- stock !rices, do lead to 1icom!ensation for one !erson5 Discovery=s C);, David Qaslav/ His "#$" com!ensation totaled nearly 3H# million/ Qaslav led trade !u1lication Deadline Hollywood=s "#$$ list of C);s whose !ay was 6most out of whack7 with other e ecutives/ In "#$", he made $% times more than the median !ay for the ne t four hi-hest !aid e ecutives/ His haul included !erks like !ersonal aircraft use and 3$$,#K% in home office e !enses/$G

Nonfiction vs/ Scri!ted Television5 Com!arin- @ay and 2enefits
&riters on scri!ted shows, like the !roducers on nonfiction shows, often work lonhours, es!ecially as deadlines a!!roach, over the course of a season/ However, the scri!ted writers have far 1etter com!ensations and 1enefits in e chan-e for their hard work and skill/ (nd we should note that many &'() mem1ers outside of nonfiction 1asic ca1le do more than writeL in scri!ted dramatic !ro-rams, in !u1lic 1roadcastin-, and in news, our mem1ers also !roduce/ The writer0!roducers who create these successful and !rofita1le nonfiction shows have not shared in the networks= and !roduction com!anies= success/ &here their collea-ues in scri!ted television are usually afforded the 1enefits of union contracts
$H

6C(merican IdolC 8ookin- to DownsiDe for Season $", Say Sources,7 Shirley Hal!erin, Hollywood Re!orter,I0$40$"/ $G 6Discovery=s David Qaslav Makes 34E/Em In "#$" Com!ensation, <4/I?,7 < David 8ie1erman, Deadline New York, 40"0$%

K

< such as minimum !ayments, health insurance and !ensions < nonfiction writer0!roducers, often workin- for the same com!anies and networks, are not/ They work lon- hours without minimum salary !rotections, residuals, or 1enefits/ 2ottom line5 1ecause the writer<!roducers and other em!loyees who work so hard to create nonfiction !ro-rammin- are !aid so much less than their counter!arts elsewhere in the television industry, they ena1le ca1le networks and !roduction com!anies to rea! enormous !rofits/ They deserve a fair share of the ra!idly< e !andin- revenues/

Nonfiction5 ( Day In The 8ife
The staff on a nonfiction show is ty!ically smaller than a scri!ted show, resultin- in lower overhead for the com!any/ They can function with a smaller staff lar-ely 1ecause the !roducers wear so many hats/ The com!anies also save money 1y com!ressin- the time frame allowed for !roducin- a show/ During the first phase of a show, producers create a program’s “story,” in many of the same ways a writer on a scri!ted show does/ They draft outlines that descri1e what ha!!ens, 1low 1y 1low/ They create 6character descri!tions7 M 6Meet Jaren, !astry artist, entre!reneur, decorator and mom of two who stru--les to 1alance it all 1ut maintains her im!ish sense of humorR7 They write interview 9uestions for cast mem1ers/ They dream u! 6situations7 or 6challen-es7 for the characters to create drama and tension < and occasionally write actual dialo-ue/ Once the script is written, then the show can go into production. ( scri!ted e!isode could take weeks to shoot, 1ut a nonfiction com!any will shar!ly limit the num1er of shootin- days allowed, to kee! costs down/ This !uts e tra !ressure on the !roducer to somehow s9ueeDe the work that should take weeks into a few very lon- days/ >or the !roducer, this will mean a Gam de!arture from his hotel/ The lon- workday will unfold in a frantic rush of loadin- and unloadin-, settin- u! and tearin- down li-hts, cameras and !ro!s, !re!!in- actors, filmin- takes and re<takes, and runnin1etween numerous locations/ He=ll have to eat a fast food lunch and dinner in the car on the way to and fro, if he -ets to eat at all/ It could easily 1e $#!m 1efore the day=s work is finished, and the !roducer trud-es 1ack to the hotel to -et a few hours of slee! M or !ut in some time doin- !a!erwork and makin- calls < 1efore the ne t Gam start/ "I’ve known people to work upwards of 1 !ours in a "iven week w!ile s!ootin" and t!en !ad to immediately start writin" t!e script upon return, wit! no down time, in order to !ave t!e script ready in time for t!e editor# $!ere%s no E

compensation for t!at additional work, and it%s especially !ard w!en you !ave a family," said &avid 'an $aylor, Producer#

"$!e standard for t!e workin" s!oot day !as now stretc!ed to an e(pected 1) !our day# *ou won’t "et t!e +est work from people w!o are e(!austed workin" 1 days strai"!t, 1) !ours a day#" Annie ,on" Producer "I can%t count t!e num+er of ni"!ts I%ve worked past 11pm#" "-n one particularly ri"orous .o+ I worked for more t!an t!ree weeks strai"!t wit!out a day off#" /ess Beck Producer
0I%ve +een on s!oots w!ere I worked 11 !our days for 2 or 3 days strai"!t# At t!e end of a lon" day s!ootin", t!e AP !as to download all t!e foota"e, and "et on t!e p!one to coordinate t!e ne(t day’s s!oot, and I’m often in t!e !otel room writi n" interview 4uestions, dialo"ue, or s!otlists, until I "o to +ed5 &avid Mettler Producer

Once the filming is complete, producers often put on another hat 5 that of !ost !roducer/ 2elieve it or not, !ost<!roduction days can 1e even lon-er than shootin- days, es!ecially as the on<air deadline a!!roaches/ (nd !roducers have little or no time off 1efore movin- into this ne t !hase/ @roducers have to review all the foota-e, write narrative scri!ts, choose the 1est 1its and -et them strun- to-ether into a coherent e!isode/ Then, the e ecutive !roducers, includin- network !roducers, will have their say/ They may ask for re< writes and re<or-aniDin-/ They may even ask the !roducers to -o 1ack out and re< shoot somethin- that didn=t come out the way they wanted it/ The on<air deadline is unlikely to -et !ushed 1ack if !roduction is 1ehind schedule/ The editors often -et !aid overtime as !art of their a-reements, so the com!any makes the !roducers M who aren=t !aid overtime M take on the e tra work/ This could mean that the !roducer=s work stretches, not only from Gam to midni-ht, 1ut into Saturday and Sunday, and even into weeks of $G<hour days without a sin-le day off/

&riters 'uild of (merica, )ast Survey

$#

Methodolo-y
The &'() conducted an online survey of nonfiction writer0!roducers in .uly and (u-ust "#$%/ The sam!le for this survey was drawn from a &'() list that includes writer0!roducer contacts from nonfiction shows/ Those who took the survey confirmed that they had worked at a nonfiction !roduction com!any in the New York area in the !ast G years/ )mail invitations were sent out to $"GG writer0!roducers/ ;f those, %$H com!leted the survey for a "H? res!onse rate/

;verview5 &a-e (nd Hour 8aws
&a-e and hour laws in New York State cover several areas of the relationshi! 1etween em!loyers and em!loyees that are relevant to nonfiction writer0!roducers/ >irst, they include certain notification and recordkee!in- re9uirements ASection $EH/$F5 for e am!le, an em!loyee must 1e notified at hire, in writin-, of her rate of !ay, and the em!loyer must kee! records showin- how many hours a worker !ut in !er day/ Second, for certain em!loyees, overtime !ay is re9uired when the em!loyee works 1eyond 4# hours a week ASection $EH/$ of New York State 8a1or 8awL federal >air 8a1or Standards (ctF/ Third, a meal 1reak of at least %# minutes must 1e !rovided when the em!loyee works a shift of G hours or more ASection $G"F/ >ourth, retaliation and threats of retaliation a-ainst em!loyees who attem!t to assert their ri-hts under these laws are !rohi1ited ASection $EHF/ &hen com!anies 1reak these laws, they are su1:ect to lia1ility for 1ack !ay, !enalties, and interest !ayments/ The new &a-e Theft @rotection (ct has a !articular focus on increasin- financial !enalties/ (lso, in many industries includin- television, some workers are im!ro!erly classified as 6inde!endent contractors7 A!aid 1y $#EEF rather than em!loyees A!aid 1y &<"F/ Com!anies that do this are ille-ally avoidin- the !ayment of unem!loyment, social security, disa1ility, and workers com!ensation ta es, in addition to !otentially under!ayin- workers, and are su1:ect to heavy !enalties from ta ation authorities as well as the De!artment of 8a1or if discovered/

$$

&orkin- Conditions In Nonfiction Television
;ur study found that writer0!roducer :o1s in nonfiction television -enerally feature lon- hours and inaccurate record<kee!in-/ Hours
Most writer0!roducers work lon- hours, 1oth daily and weekly/

&orked More than K Hours @er Day

More than K#? worked more than K hours0day at least once a week, with G#? workin- more than ei-ht hours every day/ K#? of res!ondents said they sometimes worked more than five days a week/ I$? worked more than forty hours a week, every week/ K4? worked more than forty hours most weeks/ In s!ite of the fact that most writer0!roducers are workin- overtime on a daily and0or weekly 1asis, the vast ma:ority of res!ondents AKH?F said they never received overtime !ay/

&orked More than 4# Hours @er &eek

Timecards

GG? of res!ondents filled out time cards, 1ut only $$? of those fillin- out timecards said they were always accurate/ 8ar-e num1ers of !roducers re!orted various ille-al 1ehaviors on the !art of em!loyers with res!ect to timecards/ G4? said they=d 1een asked to turn in a timecard that :ust said 6worked7L G#? had 1een asked to turn in a timecard 1efore the end of the !ay !eriodL and $K? re!orted 1ein- asked to hand in a 1lank time card/

VI;8(TI;NS ;> &(') (ND H;+R 8(&
The study shows that nonfiction !roduction com!anies may 1e violatin- wa-e and hour law, 1ased on the common !ractices of5 $"

• •

>ailure to !ay overtime >ailure to kee! accurate records

;vertime
Television networks and !roduction com!anies are 1oostin- their !rofits 1y failinto !ay overtime to the thousands of em!loyees who create their nonfiction !ro-rams/ (s we have seen, most em!loyees work overtime and almost none are com!ensated !ro!erly for it/ ;ur survey indicates that !roducers and assistant !roducers work several hundred hours of un!aid overtime !er year/ &e estimate that at least $%## !roducers and assistant !roducers work in nonfiction 1asic ca1le television in New York/ 2ased on the results of our survey, we estimate that writer0!roducers are de!rived of a!!ro imately 34# million every year/ AThat num1er could 1e as hi-h as 3GG million, de!endin- on the num1er of !roducers and (@s em!loyed in a -iven year, and the num1er of weeks they work/F The statute !ermits collection of un!aid amounts for si years, retros!ectively M for a current lia1ility of more than 3"4# million/ < The &T@( !rovides for mandatory !ayment of attorney=s fees when em!loyees !revail on claims/

Timecards and Recordkee!in>or non<e em!t em!loyees, accordin- to the federal >air 8a1or Standards (ct, the followin- records must 1e ke!t/ The &T@( !rovides that records must 1e ke!t for G years/ A$F !ersonal information, includin- em!loyee=s name, home address, occu!ation, se , and 1irth date if under $E years of a-eL A"F hour and day when workweek 1e-insL A%F total hours worked each workday and each workweekL A4F total daily or weekly strai-ht<time earnin-sL AHF re-ular hourly !ay rate for any week when overtime is workedL AGF total overtime !ay for the workweekL AIF deductions from or additions to wa-esL $%

AKF total wa-es !aid each !ay !eriodL and AEF date of !ayment and !ay !eriod covered/ $I This information is -enerally availa1le to em!loyees throu-h their !ay stu1s/ &ides!read !ractices in the nonfiction television industry, such as askinem!loyees to turn in a 1lank timecard or one that :ust says 6worked,7 are in violation of these re9uirements/ (lso, written notice must 1e -iven at hire (ND every year thereafter, (ND !rior to any chan-es in !ay, of em!loyees= wa-e rates and 1asis, and written acknowled-ments of recei!t 1y the worker must 1e maintained 1y the em!loyer/ &hen it is esta1lished that 1ack !ay is owed, if the com!any does not reach a settlement, $##? of the 1ack !ay will 1e owed, !lus5 • • • 3$## !er week, u! to 3",H## total !er em!loyee for !rovidin- an im!ro!er wa-e statement +! to 3$#,### !er em!loyee !lus !ossi1le order of reinstatement for any retaliation or threats thereof (utomatic $H? increase in amount of total :ud-ment if it is not com!letely !aid within E# days

R)C;MM)ND(TI;NS
@eo!le should 1e a1le to 1uild sustaina1le careers workin- in nonfiction 1asic ca1le television/ (s this re!ort documents, ca1le networks -enerate ra!idly increasin- revenues !roducin- and 1roadcastin- more and more hours of nonfiction content/ If 1asic standards can 1e esta1lished across the industry, men and women can earn a reasona1le livin- without 1urnin- out on $H<hour workdays, and can en:oy the health and retirement 1enefits everyone needs to live a healthy, !roductive life and to raise a family if they choose/ This is not :ust a fundamental human ri-htL our e !erience re!resentin- writers and writer<!roducers elsewhere in the television and film industry su--ests that it is also -ood 1usiness/ Havin- a sta1le, e !erienced, committed workforce would ena1le the networks and !roduction com!anies to !roduce 9uality content that viewers want to watch, so audiences will e !and and dee!en and revenues will continue to increase/ < The networks must a-ree to more reasona1le 1ud-ets and !roduction schedules/ There must 1e enou-h money to hire enou-h !eo!le to do the

$I

Handy Reference 'uide to the >air 8a1or Standards (ct/ +S De!t of 8a1or, &a-e S Hour Division/

$4

work, and they must have enou-h time to accom!lish it/ The !ressure to 1urn !eo!le out with insane hours, overwork, low !ay, and no 1enefits 1e-ins at the to!/

<

History demonstrates that the sure way to 1uild a floor of reasona1le com!ensation, 1enefits, and workin- conditions is with collective 1ar-ainin-/ Collective 1ar-ainin- em!owers the em!loyees themselves to come to-ether to fi-ure out what works 1est and what is achieva1le/ The &'() remains committed to its industry<wide or-aniDin- cam!ai-n and we antici!ate that, :ust as the 'uild and other unions have done with decades of work in the 1roader entertainment industry, we can raise standards to the !oint that !eo!le can make a livin- doin- the work they care a1out/

<

(t the same time, others in the !rivate and !u1lic sectors can have a real im!act/ )lected officials and enforcement a-encies can investi-ate violations of e istin- laws M in !articular, wa-e and hour laws M and can consider additional enactments to !rotect the men and women who work so hard in this industry/ Com!anies that choose to 1reak the law and mistreat their em!loyees should not -ain unfair com!etitive advanta-e/

<

(ll of the stakeholders Aelected officials and enforcement a-encies, networks, !roduction com!anies, and em!loyeesF can develo! a code of conduct which would create the conditions for !eo!le to 1uild solid careers creatinnonfiction television !ro-rams/

$H

Quotes from Survey- a!ers

H;+RS &;RJ)D IN ( &))J AH#? of res!ondents said they had worked K# hours or more in a weekF I have certainly worked EG hr weeks/ I have 1een on reality network shows that have re9uired me to work H overni-hts and one daytime shift in one week/ I sometimes would have as little as H hours turnaround and lived 4H minutes from set/

I worked $4<$K hour days H<G days a week on a flat day rate/ (nd, no meals were !rovided/

;n a shoot for a week, it could easily 1e K#<KH, 1ut in the office only 4#<4H

C;NC)RNS (2;+T IND+STRY Callin- someone a su!ervisor to -et out of !ayin- them overtime when they donCt su!ervise anyone/

The undera!!reciation of nearly every em!loyee, 1ein- made to feel as thou-h we canCt s!eak u! 1ecause there are hundreds of !eo!le waitin- to re!lace us, the e !ectation and standard of no !ersonal life or time while workin-, the e !ectation that everyone should work as many hours a day as needed or as many days !er week, for a flat rate 1ut with no reci!rocity of a day off when weCve worked twice as many hours as le-al in a day/

The vast ran-es that e ist in rates for a !osition from one com!any to another, the amount of days and hours worked with no com!ensation, and the lack of 1enefits/ (nd you canCt so much as com!lain a1out any of it 1ecause a !roduction com!any will fire you/

$G

No overtime, no !rotection, no 1enefits, e treme e !loitation, no industry su!!ort to chan-e workin- conditions/

Safety issues, loss of !roduction value due to cho!!in- 1ud-ets5 crew lack of slee! affectin- ne t day shoot durin- field !roduction, tired @(s drivin- vehicles after $4 hour work days, etc/ I would love to see Health Insurance 1ecome standard to everyone in the television industry/ &e also need ;T com!ensation< otherwise e ecs have no incentive to rein in !roduction schedules and work load e !ectations/

as a woman, the irre-ular work N irre-ular hours N no maternity leave O hard to !lan for a family/ 1ut thatCs :ust how the industry is/ If you work for the wron- com!any there is no way to fi-ht a-ainst0-uard a-ainst terri1le hours and unfair com!ensation for those terri1le hours/ Cou!led with the fact that there are rarely any 1enefits that other industries, or !eo!le in other areas of this industry receive Avacation days, health insurance, etc, 4#$JF makes it really tou-h to 1e a free<lancer/

;n my current show they chan-ed my contract from ;vertime eli-i1le to flat weekly/ Since then I have 1een made to work G days a week/ I rarely worked G days a week last seaon/ This chan-e is very u!settin-/

ICve worked u! to "# days strai-ht, at least $G hour days, with no time off and received the same !ay had I worked a re-ular H day, 4# hour work week/ Retirement and Health insurance/ Secondly is overtime !ay/ (s a !roducer we do not -et overtime or weekend !ay 1ut the editor Awhom I work closely withF does/ There is no !ension !lan, no re-ard for !re-nant leave or sick leave like other workin- !laces/ No over time !ay and most im!ortantly no control of hours/ The com!anies over !romise shows to the networks in unrealistic times and donCt care a1out the work load/

>remantle in (ustralia have to -ive !roducers a $# hour turnaround 1efore they can start work the ne t day < >remantle (merica doesnCt have any turnaround at all/ This week I finished one day at $$!m and was in a-ain at Gam/ I also have to $I

!rovide my own la!to!, not -et !aid any kind of e9ui!ment hire fee and then si-n a contract sayin- its not their res!onsi1ility if it -ets dama-ed/ Sometimes it feels like we A>ield @roducersF are treated like rental e9ui!ment/ If you 1urn out or 1reak you -et re!laced/

$K