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WGA Seeks Fed's Help in 'Top Model' Spat

Daily Variety reports the Writers Guild of America West filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board on Monday against Anisa Productions, alleging that the company's producers illegally fired 12 America's Next Top Model writer-producers who went on strike in July.

The filing asserts that Anisa, headed by Top Model Executive Producer Ken Mok, has violated federal labor laws by "terminating, eliminating the positions of and/or refusing to reinstate" the writers seeking to join the union.

WGAW President Patric Verrone called Top Model "a major hit for the CW, and the writers were valued employees who contributed to the show's success....Yet as soon as they demanded union representation, the company decided they were expendable. This is illegal strike-breaking, an insult to the Hollywood talent community and an embarrassment to this industry."

Mok also released a statement that supported the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)'s contention that their union's story editors on the show are already doing the storytellers' jobs. "When our story producers walked off the job, we exercised our right to sustain production during the strike. In the process, we were able to create a new system utilizing IATSE editors that has not only maintained the quality of our episodes, but at the same time has improved the efficiency of our post-production operation. As a result, we decided to move ahead in production with this new system in place, which puts our material directly in the hands of our editors without the intermediate step of story producers," Mok said.

The WGAW's complaint asks the NLRB for an order reinstating the strikers, along with compensation for lost wages.

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