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October 11 – October 15, 2007 Edition
Poised for Strike
LOS ANGELES, CA/10/9/07–The Writers Guild of America was due to return to the negotiating table with television networks and film studios Tuesday evening (October 9) to present a final proposal to give writers profit-based residuals. If no agreement is reached, screenwriters may strike.
WGA Negotiating Committee Chairman John Bowman, issued a statement October 5 that the WGA “remains determined to make a fair deal.” Bowman said the AMPTP, which represents networks and studios, “is stuck on its rollback proposals including profit-based residuals. Our members will not stand for that. The entertainment industry is successful and growing like never before. Writers, whose creativity is at the heart of that success and growth, are committed to sharing in it.”
The Guild’s agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will expire on October 31, 2007. Provisions of the agreement cover about 12,000 members of the Writers Guild West and the Writers Guild East. A series of meetings for WGA members are being held in California and elsewhere to discuss the issues, which must be decided before the Halloween deadline.
The Guild’s strike authorization letter calls the issue potentially the most important in a generation. “At stake are serious issues that affect writers, including coverage of writing for the Internet, cell phones and other new media; residuals for reuse on new media; the home video (DVD) residuals formula; and Guild coverage of animation and reality.”
Since talks began on July 16, networks and studios have countered with what the WGA calls “draconian rollbacks that would eviscerate virtually every gain that writers have made in the past 50 years.” The full text of the Companies’ proposal, as well as the WGA proposals, may be viewed in the Contract 2007 section of the Guild websites at www.wga.org or www.wgaeast.org. The WGA says the Companies’ proposal would effectively “eliminate residuals, separate rights and credits as we know them, and leave the WGA without coverage of product written for new media.”
On October 1, the Guild said it will do everything in its power to avoid a work stoppage. Members have voted to give the WGAW Board and WGAE Council, in consultation with the Negotiating Committee, “the authority to call a strike at the right strategic moment if it becomes necessary to do so.”
Look for more on this subject as it develops.
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