The Writers Guild of America asked members on Monday to vote in favor of a “demand pattern,” the general outline that will guide the union’s position in upcoming talks with major studios.
Haggling is set to begin March 20. The current contract ends May 1. And the syndicate is looking to get better wages and a better deal on the remaining payments for the streaming shows.
The Demands Pattern also includes addressing the “small room abuse”, whereby television seasons are written with fewer writers over a shorter period of time than has traditionally been the case. The demands also include increased applicability of “span protection”, in which writers are compensated for additional time to write an episode.
The WGA is also looking to regulate the use of AI in the writing process.
An email was sent to members this morning asking for a “yes” vote on the demands. Ballots must be submitted by noon on March 7, PST.
Here, courtesy of Source, is the full list of “pattern demands.”
Compensation and residents
- Significantly increased minimum compensation to address write depreciation across all areas of television, new media and features
- Uniformity of compensation and remaining terms for features whether released theatrically or during broadcast
- Addressing the abuse of small rooms
- Ensure adequate compensation for writing the TV series throughout the entire process of pre-production, production and post-production
- Extend protection to all TV writers
- Minimum MBA application to comedy variety programs designed for new media
- Increased waste to non-compensated reuse markets
- Restricting the use of extracts without compensation
Pension plan and health fund
- Increase contributions to the retirement plan and health fund
Professional standards and protections in hiring writers
- For feature contracts where compensation is below a certain threshold, require a weekly payout and at least two steps
- Enhancing the regulation of options and exclusivity in television writer work contracts
- Regulate the use of materials produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies
- Enact measures to combat discrimination and harassment and to promote equal pay
- Review and expand all lists of arbitrators
Here is the full text of the email:
The current basic minimum agreement expires on May 1, 2023. As we prepare to negotiate a new MBA, your agreement to the pattern of applications is a constitutionally required step in the negotiation process. While the form does not detail specific proposals that will be made during negotiations, it is designed to inform members of our union of the general goals we will pursue.
We are writing to ask for your support in the form of a yes vote for pattern of requests – the result of an ongoing dialogue with our members conducted over the past three years. This pattern comes to you unanimously recommended by our negotiating committee, and by the governing bodies of both unions: the WGA West Board of Directors and the WGA East Board.
The 2023 MBA negotiations are taking place in the context of an expanding media industry that remains highly lucrative, despite short-term declines in profitability affecting some companies. The overall objective of our negotiating committee will be to build on the gains made in previous decades, and to ensure that Writers get their fair share of the revenue generated from the content they create.
Eligible members can vote online on the application form here. If you have any questions about the voting process, you may contact Jennifer Burt, WGAW Chief Elections Officer, at (323) 782-4569 or [email protected]. You will continue to receive additional information regarding negotiations in the coming weeks and months. Additional information on the status of negotiations is available on the WGA Contract 2023 website, https://www.wgacontract2023.org/.
Thank you for your interest in this important step in our negotiation process.
In solidarity with,
Meredith Stehm, WGAW President
Michael Winship, President, WGAE
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