Deal up for WGA

Approval to set stage for ratification

The leadership of the Writers Guild of America is expected today to officially support the guild’s tentative deal with studios.

The WGA West board of directors and the WGA East Council have set a 3 p.m. PDT joint meeting to vote on whether to accept Friday’s pact with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

The WGA’s negotiating committee unanimously endorsed the deal, so today’s vote will probably heavily favor recommending that the 11,500 members ratify it.

Guild members have reacted positively to the deal, which calls for a $41 million pay hike over three years, with the emerging consensus that it’s preferable to the uncertainty of going on strike.

The most popular changes among the rank-and-file have been the raising of Fox Network residuals to the level of the Big Three and hikes in made-for-pay TV residuals.

Mail ballots will probably go out to members within a week, with a June 4 due date. The guild will also hold a ratification meeting on that date.

Terms of the old contract, which expired May 2, will apply until the pact is ratified. Negotiations went three days past the deadline.

Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, who began urging both sides to compromise last month, will hold a breakfast celebration today at his official residence to highlight “the spirit of compromise” that led to the pact.

Riordan issued a study three weeks ago that claimed a five-month WGA strike and a three-month strike by the Screen Actors Guild would cost the Los Angeles economy $6.9 billion and 82,000 jobs.

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