Early on Friday morning, 10 unionized creative consultants on the MTV comedy show Ridiculousness distributed leaflets at the show’s production location in Van Nuys in an effort to start negotiating a first contract.
The staffers unionized with the Writers Guild of America West after a National Labor Relations Board vote in September, but according to the WGA West, the production has yet to respond to their attempts to begin negotiating a contract. “We are fighting for a fair contract with improved compensation and benefits for the 336 episodes of Ridiculousness we help to create annually,” the leaflets handed out on Friday state. “We are currently compensated at a rate well below our peers writing for WGA-covered shows like Ridiculousness. While our workloads have increased substantially, our compensation has been stagnant.”
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The leaflets further claim that after the group voted to unionize at the NLRB, “Superjacket excluded writers from holiday pay and end of the year pay increases” that were offered to other workers on the production and did not respond to attempts to begin bargaining. “We are tired of the delays and bad-faith bargaining. Stand with us as we demand a fair contact now!” the leaflets say.
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Superjacket Productions and its subsidiary Purple Shark LLC for comment.
This is the union’s second attempt to grab the attention of the show. On Jan. 4, a delegation of workers and WGA West staffers traveled to the offices of Ridiculousness host Rob Dyrdek’s company, Dyrdek Machine, to ask for his support — and “no one was there,” according to a spokesperson for the WGA West. So on Friday morning, the group attempted leafletting the sound stage where the production was being filmed, in an attempt to garner support from the cast and crew. “We just really hope the company comes to the table quickly here, we’re ready to get this deal done and to continue making many episodes of Ridiculousness for many years to come,” said creative consultant Lauren Blackwell on Friday.
According to Ridiculousness writer Greg Edwards, the group got “a lot of support from the crew today” during the leafletting action. “It’s a New Year, it’s important to get this done so we can work under a contract that we feel comfortable working under,” said Edwards, who noted that he had his laptop in his backpack because the group is still working on the show’s latest season.
The Ridiculousness creative consultants are tasked with imagining segment ideas and writing monologues and conversation starters on the show, which focuses on viral Internet videos. According to the staffers, early on the show was producing 30 episodes a season, a number that has since risen to 336. Blackwell says that when a union contract is eventually negotiated, she wants creative consultants’ compensation to “reflect the amount of work that we do on our show.” She added, “I love this show. I love the people we work with, I love making it, I just want to be treated fairly,” said Blackwell.
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