WGA Accepts Agencies’ Offer To Resume Talks Initiated By UTA’s Jay Sures – Update

By David Robb, Nellie Andreeva

WGA ATA

UPDATE 8:15 PM: Hours after UTA co-president Jay Sures reached out to WGA West president David A. Goodman with a proposal on behalf of the agencies to restart negotiations with a meeting next week, Goodman responded. “Thank you for your offer to meet, which I accept on behalf of the WGA,” he wrote without providing specifics. “We continue to believe that there is a deal to be made that aligns agency interests with those of writers.  We look forward to hearing what you have to say. ” (You can read his full email under the post.)

PREVIOUS 5:20 PM UTA co-president Jay Sures has reached out to WGA West president David A. Goodman – a former UTA client – and called for a resumption of bargaining next week for a new franchise agreement.

The email, with subject “Getting back in the room,” was sent this afternoon. It was shared with UTA clients and quickly became a top subject of conversation among agents and writers. While the letter was personal, from Sures to Goodman, we hear all members of the Association of Talent Agents negotiating committee were aware of it and are on board with the proposal made by the UTA chief.

“What I have heard from many of your members is that they want us back at the negotiating table. They want a deal and they want one now,” Sures wrote. “If this dispute is truly about addressing packaging and affiliate production, then we are ready to get back to the table with you. We are open to concepts of true revenue sharing and have already committed to requirements of explicit client consent and overall transparency and accountability.”

Sures suggested a time and place for the two sides to meet.

“We should be by your sides fighting for the things writers need and deserve in your upcoming AMPTP negotiation. So, in that spirit, let’s get in a smaller room next week and put ALL the issues on the table. Our group will be there. Please try to get yours. If possible let’s plan on next Wednesday at one of our previous meeting locations. Many people are depending on us to get everyone working again.”

If the agencies and the Writers Guild meet – so far the WGA has yet to respond – it will be the first time since negotiations broke off April 12. Prior to that, Sures had reached out to Goodman and helped arrange a last-minute meeting that brokered a one-week extension of the talks before the original April 6 deadline. The additional negotiations gained some ground but made little headway on the two key issues, although the ATA did offer to share a small piece (0.8%) of their packaging fees with writers on packaged deals.

Here is Sures’ full email:

Dear David-

As a longtime client (now former client) of UTA, and as someone I have spoken to along the way in the WGA/ATA dispute, I thought I would reach out once again in an attempt to figure out a path to a resolution to this mess. It has been over a month since we all sat across from one another at the negotiating table for what I thought was a sincere good faith negotiation.

What I have heard from many of your members is that they want us back at the negotiating table. They want a deal and they want one now. Many feel this fight has gone on too long with those that didn’t have existing jobs or overall deals feeling like they are at a disadvantage to those that did. Feature writers are being burdened unfairly. I know you have gotten many of those notes from members, because those very same notes have been forwarded to me and my agent colleagues with the passionate pleas to come to terms on a new agreement.

So we now find ourselves at a crossroads. The lawsuit that your guild filed a month ago and amended this week is a reality. By law, we must respond to it and we will. We will be forced to defend ourselves, our reputations, our hard work, and our integrity with everything we have. I know you would do the same if the roles were reversed.

We have acknowledged concerns in the areas of Packaging and Affiliated Production and put forth a comprehensive Agency Standards for Client Representation that focuses on client choice, transparency and universally accepted standards of dispute resolution through independent and unbiased arbitration. We never received a response to this comprehensive proposal. If this dispute is truly about addressing Packaging and Affiliate Production, then we are ready to get back to the table with you. We are open to concepts of true revenue sharing and have already committed to requirements of explicit client consent and overall transparency and accountability. To be clear, we have publicly stated that if a writer does not want his/her show packaged, we will honor that. Let’s put an end to this unnecessary and extremely costly litigation that is a great detriment to your membership and the agencies.

We should be by your sides fighting for the things writers need and deserve in your upcoming AMPTP negotiation. So, in that spirit, let’s get in a smaller room next week and put ALL the issues on the table. Our group will be there. Please try to get yours. If possible let’s plan on next Wednesday at one of our previous meeting locations. Many people are depending on us to get everyone working again. I look forward to hearing from you.

Respectfully,

Jay

Here is Goodman’s response:

Jay,

Thank you for your offer to meet, which I accept on behalf of the WGA.  I do want to make clear that we responded on April 12th to your most recent proposal (see attached).  We continue to believe that there is a deal to be made that aligns agency interests with those of writers.  We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Best,

David Goodman

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/05/agencies-offer-writers-guild-resume-talks-jay-sures-uta-1202620989/