Writers on three Comcast network vote to join the Writers Guild

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Brian Watt/KPCC

Writers Guild President John Wells (left) and guild member Greg Fideler at Los Angeles City Hall on Dec. 15, 2010.

The Writers Guild of America wants to represent the writers on the E!, Style and G4 cable TV networks, and it looks like the feeling is mutual.

About three quarters of the 60 or so writers on the networks — all owned by Comcast — have voted in a symbolic election, and all but one supported WGA representation.

"A lot of the writers who work there are already Writers Guild members and they want to be able to take their pension and health benefits and make it portable, so they can move from job to job," said Writers Guild President John Wells. "Because in that industry, people do have to have to have a number of different jobs over a number of years, so it’s hard to keep your pension and your health benefits up."

Comcast owns the three networks in question and is trying to complete a merger with NBC Universal. But the cable giant hasn't warmed up yet to the idea of the Writers Guild representing its networks' writers.

"With Comcast purchasing NBC Universal, NBC is a WGA shop. So you’ve got people over there with Writers Guild contracts, with all of the benefits that that affords such as portable health care and a pension package,"
said Greg Fideler, a WGA member who has worked on E!’s “The Soup” for six years.

Comcast network writers deserve the same, Fideler said. He and Wells were at Los Angeles City Hall on Wednesday, where City Council President Eric Garcetti announced the results of the secret ballot election that his office monitored.

Comcast dismisses the symbolic election’s results. The media company maintains that the National Labor Relations Board must supervise any valid union representation vote.

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