It’s contract renegotiation time!
Specifically, it’s that time when the Writers Guild of America sits down with the Association of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) and tries like hell to make our TV, film, and other electronic media writing lives happier, healthier, and more fulfilling.
In other words, we’re looking for ways to be more productive and creative and make more $$$.
This week we’ll be bringing you the full text of the latest missives from the Writers Guild of America negotiating committee on the Guild’s position regarding more issues of importance to TV (and film) writers.
For many years, some WGA writers have faced unfair discrimination based on factors that have nothing to do with their writing. Statistics from UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report (Film, TV) and other studies clearly show the existence of bias against writers who are women, people of color, people over 55, people in the LGBTQ+ community, and people with disabilities. Our union exists to protect the wages and working conditions of all members. So the Guild has both the right and the responsibility to take action to protect these writers, targeting specific areas to improve outcomes.
In this negotiation, we are asking the AMPTP companies to provide the Guild with concrete data about activity in their recruitment, compensation, and retention of writers to better inform our efforts to find solutions. We have made the following specific proposals to support this goal:
PAY EQUITY: Companies would provide the Guild with regular reports on deals being made, so we can spot inequities as they happen.
ACCESS: Companies would provide the Guild with regular reports on all writer meetings. Since meetings precede deals, it is important to document who is meeting with whom to understand where systemic obstacles exist.
TERMINATIONS: Companies would provide the Guild with regular reports on which writers’ options are picked up and which are not, which writers are given a next step and which are not, so we can spot any patterns of bias that need to be addressed.
COMPANY-BY-COMPANY PLANS: Using information provided in the above reports, the Guild is proposing to hold regular meetings with each AMPTP company to discuss where problems exist and how we can work together to solve them.
ELIMINATING NEW WRITER DISCOUNT AND TRAINING PROGRAM RATES: These discounted minimums currently found in the MBA undercut standards, are counter-productive and send the wrong message: that underrepresented groups are inherently worth less.
Taken together, these proposals would represent a substantial step forward in obtaining concrete, company-by-company data, and would create incentives for companies to create a more inclusive and equitable industry for all writers.
MBA Negotiating Committee
Michele Mulroney, Co-Chair
Shawn Ryan, Co-Chair
Betsy Thomas, Co-Chair
Ashley Nicole Black
Dante W. Harper
Melissa London Hilfers
Lauren Ashley Smith
Patric M. Verrone
David A. Goodman, Ex-Officio
Marjorie David, Ex-Officio
Beau Willimon, Ex-Officio
Kathy McGee, Ex-Officio
Bob Schneider, Ex-Officio