Reprinted from Deadline Hollywood by David Robb on March 31, 2019.
WGA members have voted overwhelmingly – 95.3 percent to 4.7 percent – to approve the unilateral imposition of a new Agency Code of Conduct, just six days before the guild’s existing franchise agreement with the Association of Talent Agents is set to expire. The final vote by the combined members of the WGA East and West was 7882 in favor to 392 opposed.
The one-sided vote, though not unexpected, should bolster the WGA’s bargaining position by letting the agencies know that writers aren’t bluffing – that they really are ready to walk out on their agents, altogether and all on the same day. The ATA says that would create “chaos” in the industry. The WGA calls it a “difficult” part of a necessary “realignment” of a “corrupt” business model that has and will continue to drive down the over-scale pay – which agents negotiate – of thousands of writers, producers and showrunners.
The ATA issued a statement on today’s outcome.
“Now that the WGA is past its vote,” the ATA said, “we look forward to getting back into the room to work through an agreement that serves the best interest of writers, respects their individual choice, and prevents unnecessary disruption to our industry. We stand ready and waiting.”
The WGA and the ATA are expected to return to the bargaining table later this week, although no date has been set. The deadline for a deal is April 6. After that, if no agreement is reached and the talks aren’t extended, the guild could order its members to walk away from any agents who refuse to sign its new Code. …
Hollywood Writers Overwhelmingly Approve New Code for Agents, Placing Parties on a Collision Course
Reprinted from The Washington Post by Steven Zeitchik on March 31, 2019.
Get ready for some Hollywood labor strife.
Members of the Writers Guild of America voted overwhelmingly in favor of a new “code of conduct” for talent agents that would radically change how that group conducts business, the WGA said Sunday. The move represents a shot across the bow to the agencies, which heavily oppose the code and are extremely unlikely to sign it as written.
The vote, which WGA leadership pushed hard for, paves the way for writers to fire their agents when a pact expires Friday. …
WGA, Talent Agents on Brink of All-Out War: How We Got Here
Reprinted from Deadline by David Robb on March 31, 2019.
… The WGA’s current franchise agreement with the ATA – known as the Artists’ Managers Basic Agreement – hasn’t been renegotiated in 43 years. It allowed packaging, but the guild was never happy about it, even when it signed the deal in 1976.
The guild began holding a series of membership meetings in March of last year to lay the groundwork for the renegotiation of the agreement, saying that there was a growing concern among its members about the “conflict of interest inherent in production and packaging.” In interviews with numerous writers leaving those early meetings, it was clear that membership support for the guild’s goals was strong and growing stronger. “We are united” was the common refrain.
The guild took the first big step down this path on April 6, 2018, when it served the ATA with a 12-month notice of termination of their existing agreement, and then presented the ATA with its list of proposals, which it said were designed to “realign” the talent agency business. …