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Writers Guild Sets Ballot Ratification for New Contract

Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have asked members to ratify a new three-year master contract during the next three weeks.

The move comes following approval by the WGA West board and the WGA East Council. Unlike the 100-day strike in 2007-08, the deal was reached with a minimum of squabbling between the guild and the producers.

“This year, ballots may be cast online, by mail (for those requesting a paper ballot) or at membership meetings in New York and Los Angeles on April 29, 2014,” said WGA West president Chris Keyser and WGA East president Michael Winship in an email to members.

The deadline for voting is two days before the the union’s current contract expires on May 1.

The tentative three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was reached April 2 following two days of talks over the options and exclusivity requirements for TV writers. The other issues had been settled as of the first week of March.

The new deal also includes a 3% annual wage increase; 5% annual increases in script minimums for hour-long dramatic basic cable rates; a 0.5% increase in the contribution to the pension fund; higher payments for ad-supported online streaming; and a reduced free streaming window from 17 days to seven days for the first seven episodes of a series.

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