Production of the Food Network’s final season Worst Chefs in America has been shut down after about 50 crewmen went on strike in an attempt to get the project covered by an IATSE contract.
The series’ work stoppage — which puts hopeless chefs through a culinary skills course for a chance to win a $25,000 cash prize — began Wednesday after IATSE made its first attempt to negotiate wages and benefits for its employees, failing . Crew members from the camera department, grip and electrical and set decoration were all believed to be involved in the work stoppage, a recognition strike that sought to pressure management to recognize a union as the workers’ collective bargaining representative.
The union, which represents tens of thousands crew members in film and television, tweeted the news of the work stoppage on Friday. “The crew of ‘Worst Cooks in America’ is on strike in Long Island City because Bright Road Productions refuses to provide fair wages and benefits,” the union said. “For far too long, unscripted TV crews have been without industry standard wages and benefits! Now they are coming together to demand better.” IATSE Director of Communications Jonas Loeb added at the time: “With writers and actors’ strikes still ongoing, we are witnessing an unprecedented wave of solidarity breaking down old barriers in the industry and proving that we are all together in this fight. to sit.”
However, when reached by The Hollywood Reporter On Monday, a spokesperson for studio Objective Media Group said the labor dispute had led to the closure of the New York production. “Due to the IATSE’s demand for recognition on behalf of the production crew and our inability to reach an agreement with the union, Season 28 of Worst Chefs in America has stopped.”
In a statement about the shutdown, IATSE’s Jonas Loeb said that when the union contacted the production, it terminated work and “even tried to employ a non-union crew to pack the stages” instead of “acting in good faith.” negotiate to deliver a lot”. needed benefits contributions for his crew during a time of industrial shutdown. Loeb added: “The picket line remains and as always we stand ready and willing to negotiate in good faith a fair deal to cover these workers.”
THR has also contacted the Food Network for comment.
The strike and subsequent shutdown came as cast and crew working conditions in reality television returned to the spotlight due to an ongoing campaign by prominent trial attorneys Bryan Freedman and Mark Geragos to denounce NBCUniversal’s alleged mishandling of unscripted titles. set. On Sunday, Freedman called on the company to release their casts and crews from “draconian” non-disclosure agreements in a letter to NBCU’s general counsel: “To ensure silence, NBC wields these contractual terms like a sword,” he claimed.
Earlier this month, THR reported that even amid dual strikes by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA primarily affecting script projects, job opportunities are scarce for those in the largely non-union reality field. According to a source for that story, tough times tend to discourage reality workers from taking the risk of joining a union. “We get starved all the time, and then people just have to work,” this source said. “And then you lose your bargaining power and have to take a job and commit to a schedule and budget that’s unrealistic.”