Writers Guild’s TV/Theatrical Deal Caps Unusual Bargaining Cycle

Labor News, Industry News

Reprinted from The Hollywood Reporter by Jonathan Handel on July 8, 2020.

The WGA, with WGA West executive director David Young as chief negotiator, reached a June 30 agreement on a three-year TV/theatrical deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, topping off a triennial negotiating cycle like none in recent memory — even though ultimately the guild’s wage, benefit and residuals improvements followed the pattern set by the Directors Guild and mirrored those of SAG-AFTRA.

The DGA usually reaches an agreement in December in advance of a June 30 expiration, but this time the directors’ pact didn’t arrive until March 4. This signaled that achieving a deal on streaming residuals had been difficult as the industry pivots to platforms like Disney+ and HBO Max.

And it heightened fears that the WGA — under the leadership of Young and president David Goodman — or SAG-AFTRA, or both, might strike. But what people plan, viruses discard, and just days after the DGA closed its deal, the economy shut down.

After some uncertainty, SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP, led by president Carol Lombardini, negotiated a deal by videoconference. A source close to the performers’ union said it would have initiated a strike “were it not for the pandemic.” That June 10 agreement is out for expected ratification, with ballots due July 22. …

THR 7/8

About Jeffrey Burman 861 Articles
Jeff Burman served on the Guild’s Board of Directors from 1992 to 2019. He is now retired. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.