Coronavirus for author guild negotiation negotiations – starting remotely in remote3 min read
Leaders of Hollywood Studios and the Writers Guild of America are starting master contract talks on a remote basis on Monday due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Representatives of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said Monday that the current global health crisis has necessitated an agreement. The current film and TV contracts between the two sides expire on June 30.
“The goal of AMPTP is to reach a fair and reasonable agreement with the authors that will provide the necessary stability as the industry recovers from the destructive effects of COVID-19,” the statement said. “More importantly, we want to enable those affected by the virus to return to work beyond the threat of further disruption to their livelihoods.”
The WGA had no comment. Discussions begin after the two start dates are vacated – first, on March 23, when the coronavirus epidemic disrupted these plans. On May 11, the arrangement was again delayed because it was never explained due to “schedule” issues.
WGA talks were also almost derailed last month when W Young-led negotiators called the AMPTP “trivial” for refusing to ease the eligibility of members for health insurance who could lose their coverage later this year. Sources said Diversity Pensions and health benefits are a key issue for the WGA. The American Directors Guild has achieved its 1% profit on employers’ contributions to its successor master contract, which was approved by members last month.
The WGA talks are also under way, with Sag-Aftara continuing to negotiate its main contract after three weeks of negotiations. The SAG-AFTRA agreement in Blackout will also expire on June 30.
According to sources, other important aspects of the WGA include:
- The “mini-rooms” have improved the payment structure for junior writers where a small group of writers work on a few series of scripts instead of producing pilots.
- Improvements in subscription video, or SVOD, and streaming residual for reuse as needed. This was the main benefit of the new DGA agreement, which provides that at least 13 13 million has been budgeted for feature-length SVOD projects, 20 million or more domestic customers have been created for a service, the contract will increase by 29% in the first year of the remaining year.
- The way “span” works on term issues is to work and compensate for extended writers in a limited series with only six to 12 episodes per season rather than the seasonal 22 episodes. The WGA further hopes that the writers can reduce the amount of time they can contract with those shows. Span issues were a key element in reaching an agreement in the 2017 negotiations.
The WGA did not raise the issue of a vote to approve the strike among its 15,000 members. Three years ago, the WGA voted to approve the strike a month after negotiations with the AMPTP began, and the vote included 9% of eligible members – those who had worked under the AMPTP agreement for six years and those who were 15 or older.
Negotiators for the WGA and AMPTP reached an agreement in May 2013, less than an hour before the agreement expired in a face-to-face session with more than 100 participants at Sherman Oaks’ AMPTP headquarters. If the WGA left, it would be the guild’s seventh strike since 1960. The most recent strike to ignite the WGA’s new media remnants and demands for jurisdiction was a 100-day strike. The strike began on November 5, 2007 and ended on February 12, 2008.