Guild stepping up contract enforcement effort

The Writers Guild of America West is telling its members to turn in to the guild all deals they sign, reminding them that they’re required to do so.

The WGA West said the recent missive, sent to its 8,000 members, is part of a stepped-up contract enforcement effort — particularly in new media — and comes a little more than a year after the 100-day WGA strike ended.

The message from WGA West president Patric Verrone and exec director David Young follows a reminder to members that they can work only for employers that have signed contracts for the minimum basic agreement (Daily Variety, May 13).

“Submission of contracts to the guild helps writers, individually and collectively,” Verrone and Young said. “Individual contracts that don’t meet the requirements of the MBA can be corrected. For example, if your contract provides for less than the minimum compensation guaranteed in the MBA, or improperly takes away your separated rights, these problems can be caught and rectified.”

The duo also said that submission of contracts can help resolve questions about benefits before coverage lapses. “Contract submission also gives the guild comprehensive work data, so that it can analyze industry trends and identify compliance problems,” they added.

Verrone and Young also said that members should not worry about the confidentiality of contract information.

“The guild keeps all contracts confidential and does not share information with anyone beyond the appropriate WGA West staff,” the message said. “Even in the extremely rare circumstance where information is sought by subpoena or court order, the guild will take steps to assure that no private information is disclosed.”

WGA West spokesman Neal Sacharow said the message is part of a larger effort. “The guild’s executive board has asked staff to look closely at contract enforcement, and this email is part of our ongoing communications with members to help make sure the companies are adhering to the terms of the MBA, including the new-media provisions of the new agreement,” he added.

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