The WGA said tonight it’s ready to resume negotiations for a new franchise agreement later this week – either on Wednesday or Thursday. The WGA and the Association of Talent Agents have met twice in the last three weeks, but have done most of the talking in public, accusing one another of not bargaining in good faith.
On Monday, ATA executive director Karen Stuart charged the WGA’s actions and “rhetoric” show that the guild is “not intending to negotiate in good faith. As such, before we meet again and spend the time and effort to mend the relationship between your guild and our association that you seem desperately to be trying to break, we need to know that you are actually willing to do so.”
David Young, executive director of the WGA West, told her Tuesday that the guild is ready to meet, but insisted that she be prepared to address each of the guild’s 33 proposals “point by point.”
“The guild has been and will continue to negotiate in good faith,” he said in an email to Stuart. “We called you on December 18th to set dates to meet. You weren’t available until February 5th, although we offered earlier dates, including in January, so we commenced in February. Two months is enough time for negotiations.
“As we told you at our meeting February 19th, we continue to be prepared to meet. So far the WGA has scheduled and paid for all of our meetings. The WGA has reserved additional dates at a convenient location for this week, but we want to make clear that the next step, as in any serious negotiation, is for you to finally respond point by point to every one of our proposals. That’s how negotiations work, and we truly don’t know your exact position on any of our proposals.
“For example, you mentioned on February 5th that you were ‘fine with’ all of our proposals requiring the agencies to provide information to the Guild, but we don’t know specifically which, if any, WGA proposals you were signing off on. Then at our last meeting, you made the provision of information contingent on individual member approval, which is not what we are proposing. Agreeing on these things requires clarity and some formality in the process.
“We remind you that we gave you our opening proposals, in writing, over 320 days ago. You’ve given us no formal negotiation response, but we must have one. Further, last week we made significant changes to our proposals, based upon your feedback, and provided you with complete contract language, which is of course also a necessary part of negotiation. But the ATA has yet to provide the WGA with counters or sign-off on any of our proposals, much less contract language.
“Please let us know if and when you are ready to meet and we’ll attempt to keep the reservation we made for February 27 or 28. Also, please understand that the next step is for you to respond clearly to all of our proposals.”