Standing room only crowds gathered last night at WGA membership meetings on both coasts to discuss the upcoming contract negotiations, which are set to begin on March 20.
Over 1,300 WGA West members attended the meeting at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City, and more than 350 attended the WGA East’s meeting at the School of Visual Arts Theatre in New York City. Two WGA West meetings earlier this month drew over 1,300 members, bringing the total on both coasts to nearly 3,000 members.
“As a democratic union, meeting with members is an essential part of the WGA negotiations process,” a WGA West spokesperson said.
“It was a really powerful meeting and I think the issues discussed are worth fighting for,” said a WGA East member who attended last night’s conclave.
“It was great to see so many people come out and stay to the end,” said another.
“I feel a lot of pride in my guild right now,” said another.
The next step in the process will be for the WGA to issue its pattern of demands, which is required by the guilds’ constitutions. The pattern of demands is a list of general goals for the negotiations and are shaped by member surveys, conversations with members, and research on the media industry. Under their constitutions, the pattern of demands is first approved by the Negotiating Committee, then by the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council, and then by a vote of the combined memberships of both guilds.
Three years ago, in the run up to the WGA’s last negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, the pattern of demands included these very general goals:
- Increase minimum compensation in all areas.
- Expand made-for new media programs subject to MBA minimums.
- Address issues for writing teams.
- Address inequities in compensation.
- Enhance protections against uncompensated work.
- Improve residuals for reuse markets.
- Increase contributions to the Pension Plan and Health Fund.
- Strengthen protections for screenwriters.
- Strengthen protections for comedy-variety writers.
- Strengthen protections for writers employed and compensated on per episode basis.
- Provide for paid family leave for writers.
- Enact anti-discrimination measures, including the prevention of harassment and promotion of pay equity.
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