Archive for the ‘strike’ Category

WGA in Arbitration

2nd December 2008

Last month the Writers Guild of America West announced that it had filed for arbitration against the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers – the AMPTP – over non-payment of residuals from new media.

“Our agreement with the companies on material released to EST covers feature films produced after July 1, 1971, and television programs produced after 1977,” said John F. Bowman, WGAW Board member and chair of the 2007 WGA Negotiating Committee. “The companies have reneged on this agreement and are taking the position that only programs produced after February 13, 2008 are covered by the new provision. This may be their deal with the DGA, but that was never our agreement. Every proposal we made during negotiations made clear our position that library product was covered, and the AMPTP never objected to that position. The Guild will not allow this to stand.”

The Guild is also preparing to file for arbitration against the AMPTP companies for failing to pay residuals due for the streaming of television shows on the Internet. “Our tracking has shown that episodes are staying on websites longer than the 17-day initial window called for in the contract. This triggers the payment of a residual, but so far we’ve seen nothing,” said David Young, executive director of the WGAW. “Given the reports by the conglomerates of the growth of the number of shows being streamed and increases in new media revenues, this is an unacceptable situation.”

“In light of the fact that writers are not being paid for new media reuse, it’s unconscionable that the AMPTP proclaims on its website, ‘By working under an expired contract, SAG members are not receiving the new media residuals that other Guild members are already collecting,’” said WGAW President Patric M. Verrone. “The companies know what is being streamed, and they regularly announce how successful they are in generating online advertising revenue, so there’s no reason for them not to honor the agreement they made with us.”

Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood covers the reply from the AMPTP as well as the WGAW’s response to the excuses.

SAG Vote Looms

6th August 2008

The New York Times has an overview of the current debate that is fracturing the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) in the USA.

A group within SAG, calling itself Unite for Strength, is putting up a slate of candidates for the forthcoming election for the union’s board of directors. Its agenda is to heal the rift between SAG and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (Aftra), and to find a resolution to the current negotiation impasse between SAG and the AMPTP.

The majority group within SAG, called Membership First, has an alternative roster of candidates. Today’s Variety has a complete list of everyone who will be under consideration.

Ballots will be mailed to SAG’s 122,000 members on Aug. 19, and the votes will be tabulated on Sept. 18. SAG is unlikely to achieve a breakthrough with the AMPTP until the new board of directors has been elected.

Strike.TV Coming Soon

8th July 2008

According to Backstage a new online network, called Strike.TV, will launch this summer. Professional TV and film screenwriters set up the network during this winter’s Hollywood writers’ strike. It plans on going on air with 40 shortform programs, which will include comedies, dramas and a game show. There will be serials, as well as standalone shows.

Participating writers include Lester Lewis (“The Office”), Rob Kutner (“The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”), Stephen E. de Souza (“Die Hard”), Karen Harris (“General Hospital”) and Ron Corcillo (“Malcolm in the Middle”).

The impetus for the online network came from writers who wanted to generate revenue for out-of-work colleagues. To that end, Strike.TV pledges to donate the first three months of ad revenue to the Entertainment Assistance Program of the Actors Fund.

However, is also intended to become a profitable venture in its own right, allowing participating writers to own their intellectual property. Its creators also anticipate it could be an alternative to the studio system as well as a breeding ground for programming that studios could co-opt.

SAG Talks Breakdown

7th May 2008

The 18-day contract negotiations between Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the AMPTP have not been fruitful. Today the Associatied Press reports that the AMPTP has broken off the talks stating that SAG’s demands in relation to DVD sales and online content was “unreasonable”. For anyone that followed the negotiations between the WGA and the AMPTP six months ago this is a familiar scenario.

“With SAG’s continued adherence to unreasonable demands in both new and traditional media, continuing negotiations at this time does not make sense,” the producers said in a statement.

The guild responded in a statement by saying the producers’ decision to end talks after 18 days was unfortunate.

Both sides have said they sought to avoid a repeat of the 100-day writers strike that ended in February. The union’s contract for films and prime-time TV shows expires June 30.

“We made significant moves in their direction,” Doug Allen, the guild’s executive director, told The Associated Press. “We’re trying to get the deal done and we’re not the ones who walked away.”

In the meantime, the Los Angeles Times reports that the AMPTP will open negotiations immediately with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA). Both AFTRA and SAG’s contracts run out on June 30th.

Strike Over

27th February 2008

The Presidents of the WGA East and West have written to their members to declare the Screenwriters’ Strike officially over.

Today, it is our pleasure to inform you that members of the Writers Guilds of America, East and West, have voted to ratify the MBA contract with 93.6% approval. With a total of 4,060 votes cast, the tally was 3,802 to 258. These numbers reaffirm the tremendous level of support and commitment our membership has continuously demonstrated over these last few crucial months.