Comcast, writers union in increasingly ugly dispute

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), trying to make NBC Universal more cable-like, is finding in some instances that the broadcasting side is influencing its cable business. Now the MSO is involved in a very broadcast-like dispute with writers from its Comcast-owned TV networks E!, Style and G4 who want the Writers Guild of America, West to negotiate union benefits for them with Comcast.

The  writers claim to have voted for representation in an election monitored and certified by Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti but Comcast said it's not enough and there should be a secret ballot vote overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

Labor unrest is coming at a bad time for Comcast as it tries to put the finishing touches on its NBC Universal merger (and NBCU writers have already voiced support for their cable-based colleagues). It's also coming with the usual sure-to-get-negative attention rhetoric about Comcast's attitude toward unions.

"Their past history has been staunchly anti-union. They're taking over a major employer in a highly union town. This does not bode well," said John Wells, president of WGA, West.

For more:
- the Los Angeles Times has this story

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