Members of Writers Guild of America have ratified a new, three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers with virtually no opposition. The WGA membership overwhelmingly voted in favor of ratifying the contract by 98% with 4,068 “yes” votes and 87 “no” votes. The term of the agreement is retroactive from May 2, 2020, through May 1, 2023.
The Writers Guild of America announced Wednesday that a new agreement with producers passed by a 99% margin, with only 30 members voting no out of nearly 3,650 ballots cast. The agreement will remain in place until May 2020.
“What is obscene is not what Colbert said but any attempt by the government to stifle dissent and creativity,” WGA East president Michael Winship and West president Howard Rodman say.
The WGA’s new film and TV contract was approved Thursday night in Los Angeles by the board of the WGA West and in New York by the council of the WGA East. It now goes to the guilds’ members for final ratification, which is all but guaranteed.
The three-year agreement, which requires ratification by members of the Writers Guild of America, was confirmed by the guild and producers’ spokesman Jarryd Gonzales shortly after the current contract expired early Tuesday. The two sides held to a media blackout during negotiations that began March 13 and centered on compensation and health care.
The Writers Guild of America and the major studios appeared Sunday to be moving closer toward a deal that would avert a strike, with the studios increasing their offers on several contentious issues, including the writers’ health fund. But no deal has been announced so far and a strike could still happen if a deal isn’t struck today.
Indications are strong that industry negotiators will need be working down to the wire during the next five days to avoid a writers strike. Sources say there have been mixed results from the past two days of contract negotiations Tuesday and Wednesday. There were no public comments from either side at the headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as both camps are observing a media blackout.
In a letter to its members Monday, the Writers Guild of America said 96.3% voted to authorize a strike as the May 1 contract expiration deadline looms. Negotiations between the Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will resume Tuesday.
Hollywood is holding its breath. Members of the Writers Guild of America on Monday are expected to give their leaders authority to call a strike against the major film and TV companies after their contract expires May 1.
On Wednesday, TV and movie writers will begin voting on whether to authorize a walkout, which could occur on May 2. Health care is a major issue.
The WGA and Hollywood’s major studios have ended contract negotiations for a week while the guild conducts its strike authorization vote. The sides have agreed to resume talks on April 25, the day after the guild concludes the voting to authorize a work stoppage, and just four business days before the current contract expires on May 1.
Negotiations for a new WGA film and TV contract recessed today in observance of the Good Friday holiday. The talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will resume on Monday and are expected to continue throughout the week as the WGA East and West begin polling their members for the authorization to call a strike if negotiations fail to produce a new contract by May 1.
The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers resumed contract discussions this week following a two-week hiatus that was initiated after WGA rejected an AMPTP offer. One main point of contention is over funding of health care plans. Barclays analysts wrote in a research note on Wednesday that if the strike moves forward, advertisers, viewers and ancillary revenues will likely reallocate toward digital platforms.
After two days back at the bargaining table, there is cautious optimism that the Writers Guild of America and major studios could be inching closer to compromise on at least one key issue on the table: options and exclusivity terms for TV writers.
On Monday, the Writers Guild of America will resume negotiations over a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents broadcast and cable networks and movie studios. With the WGA moving to authorize a strike, Hollywood is hoping to avoid a crippling work stoppage like the 100-day strike of 2007 that put primetime TV into reruns and blockbuster movies on hold.
The Writers Guild of America has offered a chilling picture of the future of television to the FCC in a bid to block the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. “The FCC should deny the proposed merger,” the WGA said in a brief filed with the FCC on Friday, noting that the merged entity “would control almost 30%” of the cable and satellite TV market.