wga-logo__140128204911__140131020047__140205212542__140306212740__140307232618__140331211919Less than a week after reaching an agreement on a new three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers, the WGA today announced it’s bringing the contract to a membership vote (see the email to members below). “This year, ballots may be cast online, by mail (for those requesting a paper ballot) or at membership meetings in New York and Los Angeles on April 29, 2014,” said WGA West President Chris Keyser and Michael Winship, President, WGA East in an email to members. The union’s current contract expires on May 1. The duo also revealed that both the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council have unsurprisingly approved the new contract. With the DGA having struck their deal with the studios and networks late last year and the WGA undoubtedly about to agree to their similar agreement, only SAG-AFTRA among the major Hollywood guilds is left to work out a new agreement. The actors union, which will be entering their first such negotiations since merging in 2012, is expected to announce the start date for talks with AMPTP in the next two weeks.

Related: New WGA Contract Contains Changes In Options & Exclusivity Rules, Increases, No Rollbacks

In the meantime, here’s the WGA email from today:

guest
6 months
those of you urging a "no" vote, exactly what do you think this contract should have that...
NewGuildPlease
6 months
Of course it was the best deal they could get. That's precisely our problem. And it's scary.
Brian Scully
6 months
I think this was the best deal the WGA negotiators could get and I will vote "Yes".

To Our Fellow Members,

We are writing to give you notice of your right to vote on ratification of the 2014 Minimum Basic Agreement. The ratification materials–including a summary of the terms of the agreement and a letter urging ratification from Negotiating Committee Chairs Billy Ray and Chip Johannessen–may be accessed by clicking on the following link: https://eBallot4.votenet.com/wgamba. This year, ballots may be cast online, by mail (for those requesting a paper ballot) or at membership meetings in New York and Los Angeles on April 29, 2014. Please visit the members-only section of the Guilds’ websites for more information: http://www.wga.org or http://www.wgaeast.org.

wgaw__130208220853-200x112__130701180057__130917230333__130920203125__140131011111__140213212131__140403013547We vigorously support ratification of this contract. It comes with the unanimous recommendation of the Negotiating Committee, the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council, and while it is not all that we hoped for—no contract ever is—in key areas writers have made significant gains:

We vigorously support ratification of this contract. It comes with the unanimous recommendation of the Negotiating Committee, the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council, and while it is not all that we hoped for—no contract ever is—in key areas writers have made significant gains:

Minimum compensation increases over three years of 2.5%-3%/-3%.
“Outsized” increases of 5%-5%-5% for most high budget one-hour basic cable series.
A .5% increase (to 8.5%) in Pension Plan contributions.
An increase in the Internet streaming residual and a shortening of the free streaming window.
The first ever minimums for high budget subscription video on demand services such as Netflix and Amazon.
A doubling—from $5000 to $10,000—of the feature script publication fee.
A brand new provision, imposing limits on the types of option and exclusivity requirements that a Company may negotiate with episodic television writers who earn less than $200,000 per season.

WGAE_logo_20110616205123__140211174509-275x101__140403013618The fact that this agreement was reached without a strike does not mean that it was without struggle. You will recall that we wrote you in late January to alert the membership to the fact that the Companies had placed $60 million in rollbacks on the table, mostly in the areas of pension and health benefits. Not only were we able to force those rollbacks off the table, we achieved groundbreaking regulation of options and exclusivity agreements, an issue of critical importance to many television writers.

A union’s power to achieve a just contract is always rooted in its members’ resolve and dedication. We wish to thank the negotiating committee and all of you who participated in the outreach meetings, surveys, and committees that helped to formulate our proposals for these negotiations. We would also like to recognize the community of writers that works day in and day out to make us a vital part of the entertainment industry. We endorse this proposed contract and encourage you to vote for its ratification.

In Solidarity,

Chris Keyser

President, WGA West
Michael Winship
President, WGA East