Chronology of WGA contract talks

Key events in film-TV contract negotiations

Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America:

  • 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998.

  • September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform.

  • July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving money for a strike.

  • September 2000: Wells asks members not to write extra scripts.

  • Oct. 13, 2000: WGA endorses 42-item “pattern of demands” for hikes in cable, video, foreign TV and Fox, Internet jurisdiction and expanded “creative rights.”

  • Oct. 30, 2000: Producers offer to start early talks; Wells says informal talks so far have not included a “serious” offer.

  • Jan. 2, 2001: WGA and companies agree to two weeks of talks.

  • Jan. 3: CEOs claim the WGA is seeking hikes that will trigger a $2.4 billion increase for all entertainment unions over three years; the WGA says the correct figure is $725 million.

  • Jan. 22: Talks start with a news blackout after Wells says the two-week deadline could be dropped if there is progress.

  • Feb. 3: Negotiations extend past the two-week deadline.

  • Feb. 5: WGA files unfair labor practices complaints against six producers.

  • Feb. 15: Revamped proposals exchanged.

  • Feb. 22: Talks nearly break down over foreign residuals.

  • March 1: Talks collapse, with a $100 million gap in last offers; WGA cites need to get member feedback.

  • March 6: WGA West town hall meeting draws 700 members who express strong support for Wells. It is the first of 30 such meetings.

  • March 9: Wells and WGA West exec director John McLean warn that meeting halfway between the $100 million gap won’t be enough to make a deal.

  • March 18: Directors Guild reiterates criticism of WGA creative rights proposals but agrees to some limits on the “a film by” credit.

  • March 22: DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg says WGA proposals would trigger $1.6 billion in cost increases overall and “bankrupt” studios; he also calls the idea of meeting halfway in the $100 million gap “a nonstarter.”

  • April 3: Records show 45% hike in first-quarter film production and 15% gain in TV activity on public property in Los Angeles.

  • April 5: WGA denies rumors of a back-channel deal.

  • April 9: WGA agrees to restart talks on April 17.

  • April 17: Talks resume with news blackout.

  • April 20: L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan claims a five-month WGA strike and three-month SAG strike would create losses of $6.9 billion and 82,000 jobs for the local economy.

  • April 24: WGA says labor law prevents studios from invoking force majeure provisions on writer contracts if there is a strike.

  • April 27: WGA activists begin asking members if they are available for picketing.

  • April 29: Negotiators meet through the weekend; WGA tells members to expect a final offer from producers and a WGA response by Tuesday night.

More Biz

  • Brian Roberts Sun Valley Conference

    Merger Mania Dominates Talk at Sun Valley Moguls' Confab

    Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America: 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998. September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform. July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving […]

  • Discovery Extends CEO David Zaslav's Contract

    Discovery Extends CEO David Zaslav's Contract Through 2023

    Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America: 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998. September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform. July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving […]

  • Sire Records Cofounder Seymour Stein Leaving

    Sire Records Co-Founder Seymour Stein Leaving Warner Music Group After Four Decades

    Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America: 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998. September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform. July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving […]

  • Mark Zuckerberg

    Five Things We Learned From Mark Zuckerberg's Interview With Recode

    Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America: 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998. September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform. July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving […]

  • Jay-Z Slams Philadelphia Mayor for Made

    Jay-Z Slams Philadelphia Mayor for Made in America Festival Move

    Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America: 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998. September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform. July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving […]

  • Steph Curry Uncovered

    Steph Curry Says He Would 'Jump' at the Chance to Act

    Key events in the film-TV contract talks for the Writers Guild of America: 1997: WGA members reject tentative agreement for a new three-year contract; revised pact is ratified in 1998. September 1999: John Wells elected president of WGA West on a get-tough platform. July 2000: WGA West secretary-treasurer Michael Mahern tells members to start saving […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content