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.
Please contact American Idol and tell them it's time to start singing a different tune!