The WGA said tonight that it had to “fight off significant writer-centric rollbacks,” in its now-completed negotiations for a new film and TV contract, which the guild said “would have been very damaging.” The new pact, which was reached in the early morning hours today, contains many of the guild’s terms, but also rollbacks in residuals from the long-floundering syndication market, which the WGA said had been baked into the deal by earlier deals that management’s AMPTP struck with the DGA and SAG-AFTRA.
“Although the ongoing global pandemic and economic uncertainty limited our ability to exercise real collective power to achieve many other important and necessary contract goals, we remain committed to pursuing those goals in future negotiations,” the WGA negotiating committee said in a message to their members.
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“Many of the new terms track those recently negotiated by other guilds, including increases in SVOD residuals, the lowering of SVOD budget breaks, and elimination of almost all SVOD grandfathering, as well as rollbacks, including syndication residuals,” the guild leaders said.
The guild said that “In addition, as part of an overall package valued at more than $200 million over three years, we were able to achieve several writer-specific gains. The writer training and new writer discounts that undercut screen and television minimums and disproportionately impacted underrepresented groups have been eliminated.
“A new paid parental leave fund available to all writers who qualify for health insurance was established, with benefits beginning in May 2021. The benefit will be entirely funded by an employer contribution of .5% on writers’ earnings.
“Our pension fund will receive an immediate 1.5% contribution increase to 10%, with the ability to divert an additional 1.25% from minimums, if needed, over the final two years of the contract. This increased funding of our pension plan, totaling 2.75% over the term of the contract, was a vital goal of this negotiation and sets our plan on a much firmer foundation.
“We also improved protections for television writers in the area of options and exclusivity, including specific limitations on options after short periods of employment, and expanded the number of writers covered by the span protections first negotiated in 2017.”
The WGA’s negotiating committee, which earlier today unanimously approved the terms of the new film and TV contract, said tonight that it is recommending membership ratification. Upon their approval, increases in guild minimums will be retroactive to May 2, 2020, and expire on May 1, 2023.
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