WGA members overwhelmingly approve new film and TV contract
Members of the Writers Guild of America overwhelmingly backed a new film and TV contract with the major studios.
The three-year contract, which increases minimum pay rates and residuals for high-budget shows on streaming services, was approved by 98% of the
4,155 members who voted.
The contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers retroactively begins May 2 and runs through May 1, 2023.
“This year we faced a unique situation in negotiations because of COVID-19, but despite the challenges posed by the pandemic we achieved gains in a deal that will serve writers’ interests for the next three years,” President David A. Goodman of Writers Guild of America West and President Beau Willimon of Writers Guild of America East said in a joint statement. “We could not have achieved that without a determined negotiating committee led by co-chairs Michele Mulroney, Shawn Ryan, and Betsy Thomas, committed member volunteers, and our professional WGA staff.”
If the three-year deal goes through, it is expected to include improvements in minimum salaries and residuals for members working on original shows.
The contract also boosted funding for the WGA’s pension plan, provided a first-ever paid parental leave benefit and improved options, exclusivity and span protections that limit the amount of time writers spend working on individual episodes. That has been a major priority for the guild as more shows shift to short-season shows on streaming platforms.
The agreement, negotiated July 1, also ended “new writer” discounts that disproportionately impacted writers in underrepresented groups and strengthened the rights of members to meet with employers about inclusion and equity programs and anti-harassment measures, the WGA said.
The union, which represents about 10,000 members, began negotiations May 18 via video conference. The sides had agreed to extend the existing contract for two months to June 30 to allow more time for negotiations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier in the year, many had expected the writers to go on strike because of rising frictions over pay. But the pandemic, which has forced studios and unions to collaborate on safety issues, has eased labor tensions, and the union did not seek a strike authorization vote.
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