The announcement was issued Thursday with the WGA and the Association of Talent Agents in a standoff over the rules governing how WGA members are represented by agents. The two sides, which have not met since March 26, face a looming deadline of 12:01 am PT on Sunday, April 7, when the WGA’s agency franchise agreement expires.
At that point, the guild will require its 15,000 members to fire their agents if they have not signed the WGA’s new “Code of Conduct,” a scenario that’s been unnerving Hollywood in recent days. The WGA’s two key demands are included in the Code of Conduct — elimination of agency packaging fees in television and banning ownership interest in production companies owned by affiliates of CAA, WME, and UTA.
The WGA’s membership backed up its leadership in recent voting with more than 95% support for the code, which goes into effect on April 7. No major agencies have signed the code yet.
“The WGA is rightly endeavoring to restore fairness and transparency to the process of making film and television for its members through instituting a new Agency Code of Conduct,” the IAWG said.
The IAWG said it has resolved to educate its members on the underlying issues of the dispute and encourage dual members to ensure that their agents sign on to and adhere to the WGA’s new code.
“After our parents, a writer’s first, best advocate should be their agent,” said WGC president Dennis Heaton. “When this relationship becomes dysfunctional, no one wins. The WGC joins our sister guilds in the IAWG to support the WGA’s efforts to repair this relationship.”
The 11 guilds in the IAWG have about 50,000 members, including the 15,000 in the WGA. See the letter the IAWG sent to WGA West executive director David Young and WGA East director Lowell Peterson below.
Dear David and Lowell,
The members of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, representing approximately 50,000 film
and television writers worldwide, stand with our brothers and sisters in the Writers Guild of America
in support of your negotiations with the Association of Talent Agents and the implementation of an
Agency Code of Conduct, should the WGA Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement (AMBA) expire
without a deal on April 7.
We would like to remind the agencies, who earn commissions from a global client base that includes
many dual WGA members, that we are paying close attention to this dispute. The international
community of creators expect their agents to work for them, to represent and promote their best
interests above all else. We strongly agree with the WGA position that, in order for agencies to
ethically represent our members, every dollar they make must be generated as a percentage of the
money they negotiate on our members’ behalf.
Given our commitments as signatories to the Affiliation Agreement of the International Affiliation of
Writers Guilds (the Affiliation Agreement), the purpose and extent of which includes: the promotion
of fair dealings and the cultivation of unity of action and understanding among members of the
Member Guilds; to correct abuses to which they may be subject; to do any and all things necessary,
desirable and proper to promote the welfare and interests of the members of the Member Guilds;
and to bring about harmonious and concerted action by its members in such respects, we submit the
Be it resolved that:
In the spirit of Article 4B of the Affiliation Agreement whereby, “to the extent practicable, each
Guild shall adopt uniform codes of working rules and bring existing codes into uniformity”:
We resolve to inform our members of a lapsed WGA Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement
(AMBA), educate them on the underlying issues of the dispute, the adoption of an Agency
Code of Conduct, and the list of non-signatory agents;
We further resolve to encourage our dual members to ensure their agents adhere to the
Agency Code of Conduct, and recommend all writers reject agency-based studios, the
unethical practice of packaging fees, and to request their agents also sign onto the Code of
Motion to Adopt the Resolution
Moved by: Writers Guild of Canada (Dennis Heaton, President)
Seconded by: New Zealand Writers Guild (Alice Shearman, Executive Director)
Those in Favor:
La Guilde Française des Scénaristes, France
Screenwriters Association, India
Scriptwriters Guild of Israel
Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinema, Québec
Verband Deutscher Drehbuchautoren, Germany
Writers Guild of America, East
Writers Guild of America, West
Writers Guild of Canada
Writers Guild of Great Britain
Writers Guild of Ireland
Writers Guild of South Africa
Motion Carried Unanimously