The missive comes less than a week after WGA members voted overwhelmingly to ratify with the new film and TV deal worked out with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Sent under the header, “How Agency Information Sharing Is Paying Off,” the letter notes that “a key objective of our agency campaign is timely information from the agencies to assist MBA enforcement of late pay and free work violations, and enhance the Guild’s analysis of compensation and other employment trends.”
Here is the letter in full:
A key objective of our agency campaign is timely information from the agencies to assist MBA enforcement of late pay and free work violations, and enhance the Guild’s analysis of compensation and other employment trends.
Information Sharing: Franchised agencies are now sharing invoices, deal memos, contracts, and writer compensation and commission information with the Guild. As of July 31, the Guild has received around 700 deal memos and long-form contracts, and 1,100 invoices.
Verve has led the way by working with the Guild to set up a streamlined reporting system. The data stream includes reports on: invoices; payments Verve has received on behalf of writer clients, including the pay date; past due invoices; information on how writer compensation is commissioned; and summaries of the writer deals Verve has negotiated. Similar reporting systems have been developed with other agencies that use the same booking software, such as A3 Artists Agency, Buchwald, Culture Creative Entertainment, and Innovative Artists. The remaining franchised agencies, including Kaplan Stahler, RBEL, Gersh, APA, Paradigm and Brant Rose Agency, have established their own processes to share information directly with the Guild. The Guild will now work with the most recently franchised agency, UTA, to establish their system.
All of this data is analyzed by the Guild with the goal of improving terms in individual writer deals and future MBAs. As the franchised agencies continue to provide the Guild information, members can look forward to a future in which the Guild will provide more comprehensive detailed information on above-scale terms to members and their representatives, all with the purpose of maximizing writer compensation.
Enforcing the MBA – Getting Writers Paid: The Agency Department is using information provided by franchised agencies-deal memos, invoices and payments- to address late pay MBA violations. When an invoice is received, Agency Department staff contact the writer to find out if they have been paid and if the payment was on time. Any late pay violation is then referred to the Legal Department. So far, staff has referred more than 130 cases to the Legal Department to pursue compensation or interest.
Though the average recovery is in the three-figure range, the Legal Department has made a few notable settlements on agency late-pay cases. The Guild has recovered interest payments for individual feature writers in the amounts of roughly $13,000, $10,500, and $5,500, as well as about $9,000 in interest for a team of pilot writers. All of the writers in question were employed by major studios.
Agency information-sharing has already resulted in scaled up enforcement efforts, a streamlined claims process, and invaluable perspective on the compensation practices of the studios. Through continued collaboration with our agency partners, we can build on that progress.
WGAW Board of Directors
David A. Goodman, President
Marjorie David, Vice President
Michele Mulroney, Secretary-Treasurer
Dante W. Harper
Deric A. Hughes
Patric M. Verrone