Saturday, October 04, 2008



The following appeal for solidarity is from the American Rights at Work group. It's all about one of the great time wasters and profit makers in the USA today, the television show 'American Idol'. Turns out the idol has feet of clay. See the story below.
When it comes to respecting workers, America's favorite TV show is way off-key.:

American Idol brings in $200 million in profits annually. But some of the people who help produce it are taking home as little as $4.50 an hour. That's below minimum wage.

What's more, some report working 15-20 hours a day, seven days a week – even going without overtime pay and breaks for rest or meals.

American Idol won't respect basic workers' rights protected by law. Tell American Idol it's time to change their tune – and give workers what the law requires.

Justin Buckles worked for FremantleMedia, the company that produces American Idol:
"When I was hired I was told to expect to work 12 hour days. What I wasn't told was that it would actually be 15 to 20 hour days, many times working 7 days a week."

When Justin calculated all the hours he worked, his hourly rate was less than $4.50 an hour. And when he mentioned a raise:

"I was threatened with losing my job, told that I was replaceable, and that I'd be blacklisted from working on any other show if I spoke out."

Justin doesn't stand alone – a group of employees recently said they are owed more than $250,000 in overtime pay. Health coverage is a pipe dream. Writers and some production staff aren't protected by a union, as they are on other shows.

These aren't isolated incidents. They're part of a pattern at the massively popular TV shows produced by Fremantle, which is now under investigation for these abuses. Again and again, workers have been denied basic benefits that are standard in the industry thanks to unions – minimum compensation, health insurance, and retirement packages.

After you send your message, please ask your friends and family to do the same.

$200 million in profits isn't chump change. American Idol can clearly afford to treat its workers better. It doesn't have to be this way.

Thank you for taking action on behalf of these workers!
Liz Cattaneo

American Rights at Work



Please click on the link above to send the following letter to management of American Idol:

As a concerned member of the public, I am writing to let you know that I support Fremantle writers and other workers who help make your programs, including American Idol, such a success. I strongly believe Fremantle should properly recognize the contribution of its employees by providing them with industry standard benefits.

As the producer of the most popular show on television, Fremantle has the responsibility and the means to provide industry standard benefits to these workers. With the success of American Idol and other hit shows, you should be able to provide benefits like portable health insurance and a pension plan.

It is time for Fremantle to do the right thing. Don't be unfair to your workers by withholding overtime pay, or failing to provide meal breaks and industry standard benefits.

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