The Association of Talent Agents, which has been locked in an 11-month battle with the Writers Guild, has shut down its offices and its staff will be working from home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“These are uncertain and unprecedented times, as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the health and safety of individuals around the world. The top priority for ATA is to protect the well-being of our staff while continuing to serve you,” ATA executive director Karen Stuart said today in a message to her member agencies. “Upon review of best practices under the COVID 19 pandemic, ATA President Rita Vennari has made the decision that the ATA staff will work remotely until further notice. Although the federal government has not called for full lockdown, a careful review of the progress of the pandemic shows that the ONLY way to avert catastrophic spread of the virus is stay home.
“ATA staff is committed to servicing our members. We are available by email, phone and video. We are all able to remotely access all ATA work product.”
Stewart added that she “willl only go into the office for necessary accounting purposes. I will take every precaution possible if I find it necessary to go in. Stay safe and protect yourself, family and friends. We are checking email and voice messages regularly. I suggest email as the best way to reach us.”
The ATA, the official trade association of talent agencies across the country, has been battling the WGA since last April 13, when the guild ordered all of its members to fire their agents who refused to sign its Code of Conduct, which banned packaging fees and agency affiliations with corporately production entities. To date, none of the major packaging agencies – WME, CAA, UTA and ICM Partners – have signed the Code.