I am a writer on Strike from FASHION POLICE
I am one of the E! FASHION POLICE writers who is on strike. Have you heard about this yet?
Here is the real story. The truth and nothing but the truth.
There are 12 writers (9 fighting the fight) who are trying to have E! Sign a union contract with us and our representatives at THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA WEST (WGA). Right now we are paid an embarrassing amount of money to write and go to meetings totaling about 35 hours on average per week. We usually write 250-300 jokes and 20-30 guest questions each week. We write for the top rated variety TV show on the network and right now we are paid …..,brace yourself………ready……..$610 a week with no benefits. That is $466.13 after taxes. And some weeks we have even more taxes taken out when they combine two weeks into a check. That is $1864.52 for the month. My bills, child support and living expenses per month are about $5000 a month. Thank god I have stand up comedy to pay the bills. Don’t get me wrong. I signed up for this. I knew what I was getting into. I was happy to have it.
On our pay checks however it says we are paid $610 for 8 hours. We spend at least 4 hours each week just at the pitch meeting. Pitch meetings are a 2-3 hour round trip from my house depending on traffic. We are being paid for 8 hours when we work for almost 40 hours. So that is why we all filed suits against E! In all honesty I care less about recouping my past wages as I do being paid fairly from here on out. Chelsea Lately and The Soup are two shows that already became union for the writers a while ago. Why is E! putting up a fight? Notice I keep using E! not Joan Rivers. She has always been very good to me and very supportive. She also loves and supports us in this fight for better pay according to her own words. I am sure she is upset by all of this and the personal lawsuits against her company, but my guess is she still stands with us. I believe she just doesn’t want to go union if that means she has to have 7 writers instead of all 12 of us. There is no reason she shouldn’t get 12 writers. Chelsea and The Soup have 6-7 writers for 1/2 hour shows. Fashion police should have double the writers for a 1 hour show.
E! claims that the only way the will negotiate a contract with us is if we hold what is called an ELECTION. Basically this means they want all of us to come to E! and do a show of hands that we all want the WGA to represent us to get a contract. Sounds easy enough right? Well here is the trick, if we hold an election we must drop the 1.5 million dollar lawsuits against them. Also once the election is held they can take as long as they want to negotiate with us. They did this trick to Chelsea’s writers and then took about a year to give them a contract. That is why we the writers are refusing to hold this election. As for the lawsuits I’m pretty sure we would all drop them if they gave us a contract. I can’t speak for all of us but I could see that happening.
I guess the worst part of this whole mess is that to me it seems easy to fix. E! Wants us to hold and election before they will negotiate and we want a contract with no election.
So here is the easy fix. E! Could say we will bring a contract (equal or better than the one Chelsea has) to the election. We would easily agree to that and be back to work the same day. Someone at E! Please make this happen!
I want to go back to work today. I LOVE working for FASHION POLICE. Love it! I love the producers and staff at E!, the head writer Tony, my fellow writers and of course Joan Rivers. I’ve been a Joan Rivers fan my whole life. I am head over heals going to work every week with the funniest woman of all time. My girlfriend Rebekah has been brought on recently as a replacement writer on the show as well. Working together on the same TV show has been amazing!
I have been a comedian for 26 years and have made a great name for myself on TV and on the road. Most years I am on the road for 50 weeks a year. That doesn’t mean I’m gone the whole time, but that I work out of town at least one show a week. It’s fun and it pays the bills but it also effects how much I can see my daughter Willow. I get her every other weekend and sometimes I have to take a gig on my weekends with her just to get by. About 8 months ago I promised myself that I would find some sort of work in Hollywood that was related to the Entertainment business, so I could only have to be on the road 16 weeks a year. That is when I got the audition for FASHION POLICE. It has been great to be off the road a little less. I just want to go back to work and be paid a fair wage so I can see Willow more and finally get her the puppy I have been promising her since she was 2. And Id like to be able to have health insurance for the first time in my life.