Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have unanimously endorsed the successor deal reached with studios on its master contract, triggering a ratification vote among the 15,000 members.
In an email message to members Friday morning, the WGA said, “After the negotiating committee’s unanimous recommendation of the agreement, last night both the WGAW Board and WGAE Council voted unanimously to recommend the contract. Upon certification by the WGA’s chief negotiator of the final contract language, the Guilds will conduct a ratification vote later this month among eligible members.”
The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached a tentative three-year deal in the early hours of July 1. The agreement, reached after six weeks of negotiations conducted by Zoom, eased Hollywood’s concerns about labor strife adding to the industry’s struggle to relaunch production amid the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The guild’s negotiating committee notified members later that day that the new contract, contains more than $200 million in gains over the three-year term. It also noted that the WGA’s leverage in the negotiations had been diluted due to the complications created by the COVID-19 crisis.
The 35-member panel said many of the new terms of the minimum basic agreement track those recently negotiated by SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America, including increases in subscription VOD residuals. The deal also included improved protections for television writers in the area of options and exclusivity, including specific limitations on options after short periods of employment, and expanded the number of writers covered by the span protections first negotiated in 2017.
Friday’s announcement comes a day after SAG-AFTRA sent out information to its 160,000 members about the ratification vote on its new contract with ballots due by July 22. SAG-AFTRA’s national board voted on June 29 to back the deal by a 67.6% to 32.4% margin. The performers union rolled out a video of president Gabrielle Carteris urging a “Yes” vote while prominent national board members including Ed Asner, Jennifer Beals, Neve Campbell, Diane Ladd, Matthew Modine, Esai Morales and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, are campaigning for a “No” vote.