Members of Writers Guild of America have ratified a new, three-year deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers with virtually no opposition.
The WGA membership overwhelmingly voted in favor of ratifying the contract by 98% with 4,068 “yes” votes and 87 “no” votes. The term of the agreement is retroactive from May 2, 2020, through May 1, 2023.
The vote was not a surprise. Leaders of the WGA unanimously endorsed the successor deal reached with studios on its master contract on July 3, triggering the ratification vote among the 15,000 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.
“This year we faced a unique situation in negotiations because of COVID-19, but despite the challenges posed by the pandemic we achieved gains in a deal that will serve writers’ interests for the next three years,” said WGA East president Beau Willimon and WGA West president David A. Goodman in a joint statement.
“We could not have achieved that without a determined negotiating committee, committed member volunteers, and our professional WGA staff. We thank all writers who contributed to the process and participated in the ratification vote.”
Gains made in the contract include: needed funding for the WGA Pension Plan; increases to writers’ minimum compensation rates; increased residuals and lowered budget breaks for High Budget Subscription Video on Demand; a first-ever Portable Paid Parenting Benefit Fund; and eliminating “new writer” discounts for screen and television writers and the writers’ training program that disproportionately impacted writers in under-represented groups.