‘Ridiculousness’ Writers Reach First Union Contract

About nine months months after the writers on MTV’s viral comedy clips show Ridiculousness launched their attempt to unionize, the group has reached a first labor contract with its employer.

The deal covering a group of 11 creative consultants who are unionized with the Writers Guild of America West was signed on Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. The new deal provides these staffers with minimum wage rates consistent with the WGA’s minimum basic agreement, residuals in basic cable and other markets and pension and health benefits, with paid parental leave included. The contract also establishes protocols for grievances and arbitration, holiday pay, language on the use of AI and “full season employment guarantees,” per the union.

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The deal is retroactive to October 23, 2023, and creative consultants are set to receive payments, health and pension contributions and residuals dating back to that time. The contract does not require a ratification vote to take effect.

“The increase in our weekly wage is massive, getting a share in the residuals is massive,” bargaining unit member and Ridiculousness staffer Ryan Conner said in an interview on Wednesday about the deal. “But the pension and healthcare is so huge, I can’t tell you how great that is.” (Previously, the show’s creative consultants were offered subsidized healthcare, which would go away if the show went on hiatus, Conner says, so it made more financial sense to pay out of pocket for healthcare.)

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Superjacket Productions for comment.

The news represents the conclusion of an effort that began in July 2023, amid the WGA’s 148-day television and film strike. At that time, the group of creative consultants — who generate segment ideas, conversation starters and monologues — filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board after management allegedly declined to voluntarily recognize the group. (The employers did not offer a comment to THR.) The organizers handily won their NLRB vote in September but the newly unionized workers soon bridled against delays in negotiating their first contract. In January, the majority of the bargaining unit distributed leaflets outside of a Ridiculousness shoot in Van Nuys in an attempt to kickstart discussions.

The stalemate ended in January, says Conner, once Ridiculousness host Rob Dyrdek got involved. “Once he was made aware of the challenges we were facing in our campaign, he stood up for us and told the company to give us a deal. And from that day forward, the company stepped up in earnest and did it. So we have a real debt of gratitude to Rob for pushing us to the finish line,” he says.

The WGA West does not generally represent many workers in the reality television and documentary fields, though it does bargain on behalf of writers on America’s Funniest Home Videos and Tosh.0. Overall, Conner hopes that the unionization of Ridiculousness sends a message to others who do writing work in the nonfiction space: “I hope that this will make everyone realize that positions like ‘creative consultant’ and ‘story producer’ and all these titles are just masks to conceal that their employees are writers.”

Adam Conover, a WGA West board member and The G Word With Adam Conover creator, calls the news of the contract “a really massive win.” He said of the bargaining unit, “They were told, as many non-union writers and non-union workers in town are told, that they could never be union because the show’s classified as unscripted … The writers didn’t stand for it. They talked to each other about what they needed, they declared to the company that they were unionizing, they confronted the host and got his support, they leafletted the show, they expressed their willingness to strike.”

Conover added, “In the end, they won.”

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