2007 WGAE Strike Rules

2007 Strike Rules – Index [download as PDF]

Introduction to the Strike Rules

Strike Rules

  1. Stop writing for all struck companies immediately.

    Programming made for non-traditional media .

    Animation programming.

  2.  

  3. Do not deliver or submit any literary material or any documents to a struck company.

    Accepting payments

  4.  

  5. Do not negotiate with a struck company.

    Notice (sample notice)

  6.  

  7. Notify struck companies to return your literary material.

    Notice (sample notice)

  8.  

  9. Do not discuss future employment, sales or options with a struck company.
  10.  

  11. Do not negotiate with a struck company to obtain financing for development or production of a project.
  12.  

  13. Honor all Guild picket lines and do not enter the premises of any struck company.
  14.  

  15. File with the Guild copies of all unproduced literary material written for a struck company ("script validation program")
  16.  

  17. Inform

    the Guild of the name of any writer you have reason to believe is

    engaged in any strike breaking activity or scab writing.

  18.  

  19. You have the obligation to picket and/or perform other strike support duties.
  20.  

  21. Do not attempt to negotiate a settlement of the strike with any struck company.
  22.  

  23. Additional strike rules pertaining to writers also employed in additional capacities ("hyphenates").
  24.  

  25. Rules pertaining to non-members

 

Disciplinary Actions

Questions about the Strike Rules

 

 


 

Introduction to the 2007 Writers Guild Strike Rules

The Council of the Writers Guild of America, East (the "Guild"), have

adopted Strike Rules which will go into effect if and when the Guild

calls a strike. A strike can occur only after the members of WGA East

and West vote to authorize a strike action.

If there is a strike, each WGAE member is required to follow these

Strike Rules. The purpose of these Rules is to win the best possible

contract for writers. By following these Rules, you will enable your

bargaining committee to be in the best position to achieve improvements

in the MBA.

Please take the time to read and review the Strike Rules in their

entirety. Strict adherence by all Guild members leads to a more

effective strike and ultimately a better MBA.

The basic principle behind these Rules is very simple: you (and your

agent or other representative on your behalf) may not pitch to or

negotiate with a struck company, and you may not provide writing

services, sell or option literary material to a struck company.

As explained in some detail in the Rules themselves, prohibited conduct includes:

  • delivery of written materials; and
  • negotiations and discussions regarding present or future writing projects.

There are also certain notice requirements, including:

  • notice to the companies to return writer-owned "spec" literary material; and
  • filing with the Guild copies of unproduced literary material already written for a company.

There are Rules related to picket lines and other strike support activity, including:

  • honoring all Guild picket lines;
  • performing assigned strike support duties; and
  • informing the Guild of strike breaking activity.

Finally, please note these other aspects of the Rules:

  • Non-traditional media

    The Rules prohibit writing

    services performed for a struck company in connection with new

    programming intended for initial viewing on non-traditional media (such

    as the Internet and cellular telephones), and the option or sale of

    literary material for that purpose.

  • Animation

    The Rules apply to all network primetime

    animated series covered by a WGA contract. Writers who wish to perform

    writing services in connection with fully animated theatrical features

    are advised to consult with WGA staff to

    determine whether such writing is prohibited before performing any

    writing services. Members should assume that projects combining live

    action and animation are covered by the Strike Rules.

  • Hyphenates

    The Rules prohibit hyphenates (members who

    are employed in dual capacities) from performing any writing services,

    including the "(a) through (h)" functions.

Representatives of the Guild are available to answer all of your questions regarding these Rules. Please contact us with any inquiries by calling:

Chris Aiken

Writers Guild of America East

555 West 57th Street, Suite 1230

New York, New York 10019

Telephone: (212) 767-7800

 

Writers Guild of America East 2007 Strike Rules

 

  1. Immediately stop writing for all struck companies.

    As soon as a strike is called, you must immediately stop writing for

    any and all struck companies. You may not continue to write or complete

    writing started before the strike for a struck company. You may not

    start writing on a new project during a strike. You may not perform

    writing services even if you work at home or at your own office rather

    than at the company's premises. This Rule also prohibits you from

    attending meetings, or engaging in conversations, as a writer

    concerning new, pending or future projects or writing assignments with

    producers, directors or other representatives of any struck company.

    You may not attend pitch meetings or communicate with a company

    representative to receive notes on literary material even if you intend

    to wait until the strike ends to make any requested changes.

    With regard to programming made for non-traditional media (such as the

    Internet and cellular telephones), this Rule prohibits writing services

    performed for a struck company in connection with new programming

    intended for initial release on non-traditional media and the option or

    sale of literary material for this purpose.

    With regard to animation programming, this Rule applies to all network

    primetime animated series covered by a WGA contract. Writers who wish

    to perform writing services in connection with fully animated

    theatrical features are advised to consult with

    staff at the Guild's strike headquarters to determine the extent such

    writing is permitted or prohibited before performing any services for a

    struck company in order to avoid possible disciplinary action. It is

    the writer's responsibility to determine whether the Guild is on strike

    against the company with regard to 100% animated theatrical features. Members should assume that projects combining

    live action and animation are covered by this Rule.

  2.  

  3. Do

    not deliver or submit any literary material to a struck company. Do not

    sign or deliver documents related to writing assignments or the sale or

    option of literary material to a struck company.

    You may

    not sign, deliver or submit any literary material or documents related

    to writing assignments or the sale or option of literary material to a

    struck company, or to any of its employees, agents or other

    representatives, either directly or indirectly through your literary

    agent, lawyer, accountant, assistant, secretary, messenger, copy or

    word processing service, via e-mail or the like. This includes literary

    material such as scripts or outlines, and also prohibits you from

    signing or delivering contracts, certificates of authorship and other

    transactional documents.

    This Rule applies even when the negotiation of a deal

    was completed prior to the strike, or the effective date of the deal is

    intended to be deferred until after settlement of the strike.

    You may, however, accept payment for writing services

    performed before the strike, or for a sale or option when all steps or

    acts except payment occurred before the strike. You may also accept

    payment during a strike for the sale of literary material if a struck

    company unilaterally elects to exercise a pre-strike option to purchase

    the literary material or the struck company unilaterally extends an

    option for literary material as long as you are not required to sign

    and/or deliver any transactional documents or literary material during

    the strike.

  4.  

  5. Do

    not negotiate with struck companies for writing services, and notify

    agents to cease negotiations on your behalf until the strike concludes.

    You may not negotiate an employment agreement for writing

    services or an option or sale of literary material with a struck

    company, even if some or all of the writing is to be done, or the sales

    transaction will be completed, after the strike concludes. Similarly,

    you may not instruct or permit your agent, other representative, or any

    other person to negotiate such a deal or assignment on your behalf with

    a struck company.

    Hyphenates are prohibited from negotiating new assignments for writing

    services even if combined with non-writing services. If you are a

    hyphenate, see Rule 12.

    You are required to send the following notice to your agent(s) and any other representative(s) as soon as a strike is called:

    NOTICE

    "On ______, 2007, following a vote by the membership of the Writers

    Guild of America, the WGA issued a strike order against various

    companies in the motion picture and television industry. You are

    immediately instructed to engage in no further negotiations, meetings

    or discussions with any struck company concerning my performance of

    writing services on future or pending projects, or for the sale or

    option of literary material I have written, alone or with a writing

    partner. I hereby revoke your authority to engage in any of the

    foregoing activities until the WGA withdraws the strike order."

    SIGN AND PRINT YOUR NAME

  6.  

  7. Notify struck companies to return writer-owned "spec" literary material or sample scripts.

    As soon as a strike is called, all Guild members are required to send

    the following notice to all struck companies that have in their

    possession any "spec" literary material or sample scripts owned by a

    member (or team of members). The notice to the company should be sent

    by certified or registered mail or hand delivered by a messenger

    service so that you have evidence of the company's receipt and date of

    its receipt. You also are required to send a copy by regular mail or facsimile to the Contracts Department at Writers Guild

    of America, East.

    NOTICE TO RETURN WRITER-OWNED LITERARY MATERIAL

    The Writers Guild Strike Rules require that you promptly return to me

    all speculative literary material or sample scripts owned by me and

    currently in your possession, which includes the following [describe

    material by project name or working title]: ___________

    __________________________________________________________________________

    SIGN AND PRINT YOUR NAME and show a copy to be sent to the Guild

    This notice requirement does not apply to literary material completed

    under employment or sold to a Company before the strike started, not

    does it apply to literary material optioned by a Company before the

    strike started.

  8.  

  9. Do not discuss future writing assignments or the sale or option of literary material with a struck company.

    During a strike, you and your agent or anyone acting on your behalf may

    not discuss or meet with any representative(s) of a struck company

    about possible post-strike employment to write literary material or the

    sale or option of literary material previously written by you. You and

    your agent may not send out writing samples to struck companies in

    order to garner interest in your writing services after the strike.

  10.  

  11. Do not negotiate with a struck company for the development, financing or production of a project.

    You may not negotiate directly or indirectly through agents or other

    representatives for the development, financing or production of any of

    your literary material with a struck company. Also, you may not

    participate as a writer in the production of your literary material

    during a strike.

  12.  

  13. Honor all Guild picket lines and do not enter the premises of any struck company.

    You must honor all Guild picket lines and not enter the premises of any struck company. If you are a hyphenate, see Rule 12.

  14.  

  15. File with the Guild copies of all unproduced literary material written for a struck company ("script validation program").

    The Guild will conduct a script validation program in the event of a

    strike. You will be required to submit copies of all literary material

    to the Guild at the outset of a strike. This includes literary material

    already completed and delivered to a company before the strike, all

    writing in progress for a company currently subject to the strike, as

    well as any spec or sample script, if any version of it was submitted

    to any producer or company before the strike. The filing of these

    copies will allow the Guild to determine the exact status of material

    at the beginning of a strike and may protect you in the event

    allegations of strike-breaking or scab writing are made against you or

    another writer.

    The process of "validating" literary material will be

    available online and in person at the Guild's strike headquarters.

    There will be no fee. You may file online or in person.

     

  16. You must inform the Guild of the name of any writer you have

    reason to believe is engaged in strike breaking activity or other scab

    writing.

    You must inform the Guild of the name of any writer-member and

    non-member-you believe is engaged in strike breaking activity such as

    scab writing for or negotiating with a struck company. To the extent

    possible, be specific about the nature of the violation, including the

    date and place of the violation, the name of the struck company

    involved, and the name of the project, if any.

  17.  

  18. You must picket and/or perform other strike support duties and

    cooperate with Guild committees charged with enforcement of the Strike

    Rules and each Guild's Constitution.

    In the event of a strike, Guild members will be called upon to picket

    at specific locations and/or to perform other vital strike support

    duties, such as making or answering telephone calls or e-mail at strike

    headquarters. Absent a valid medical excuse, non writing employment,

    compelling personal circumstances [necessary child or elder care] or

    emergency, you are obligated to perform these duties when and where

    requested. If there is a personal circumstance making strike support

    duties impossible when requested, members are required to arrange

    alternate times to contribute to the strike effort.

    When requested, you must also cooperate with the Strike

    Disciplinary Committee in an investigation or with a trial committee

    convened to hear evidence concerning alleged violations of the Strike

    Rules or conduct prejudicial to the welfare of the Guild.

  19.  

  20. Do not attempt to negotiate a settlement of the strike with any struck company.

    However good your intentions may be, the job of negotiating a

    successful conclusion of a strike is in the hands of the Negotiating

    Committee, the chief negotiator, the officers, WGAW Board of Directors

    and WGAE Council. The Guild will keep the membership informed about the

    progress of contract negotiations and strike settlement talks.

  21.  

  22. Additional Strike Rules pertaining to writers also employed in additional capacities ("hyphenates"):

    Hyphenates (i.e. members employed in dual capacities such as

    writer-director, writer-producer, etc.) may not perform any writing

    services, including "(a) through (h)" services, for a struck company.

    The MBA defines "(a) through (h)" as follows:

    (a) Cutting for time

    (b) Bridging material necessitated by cutting for time

    (c) Changes in technical or stage directions

    (d) Assignment of lines to other existing characters occasioned by cast changes

    (e) Changes necessary to obtain continuity acceptance or legal clearance

    (f) Casual minor adjustments in dialogue or narration made prior to or during the period of principal photography

    (g) Such changes in the course of production as are made necessary by

    unforeseen contingencies (e.g., the elements, accidents to performers,

    etc.)

    (h) Instructions, directions, or suggestions, whether oral or written, made to a writer regarding story or screenplay

    The Guild strongly believes that no member should cross a WGA picket

    line or enter the premises of a struck company for any purpose. Under

    applicable law, however, the Guild may not discipline a hyphenate for

    performing non-writing services. This legal restriction only extends to

    services that are clearly not writing services. If a hyphenate performs

    writing services, including "(a) through (h)", for a struck company, or

    negotiates a new assignment for writing services, including (a) through

    (h), he/she will be subject to Guild discipline under the Strike Rules

    and the Guild's Constitution and By-Laws.

    To avoid possible disciplinary action, hyphenates are

    advised to consult with Guild staff in advance for guidance on the

    extent of functions prohibited. Although it is impossible to

    contemplate every situation, it should be clear that the most inclusive

    interpretation of "writing" is intended. When in doubt, don't.

    Hyphenates are subject to the following additional rules, though they are not enforceable through Guild discipline:

    A. A hyphenate member performing non-writing services during a strike

    should provide the Guild with a list of the literary material,

    including the names of the writers of the material, utilized by him/her

    in the production of a television program or theatrical motion picture.

    Also, the hyphenate member should provide the Guild with copies of

    literary materials rewritten, polished or altered in any way during the

    strike and the names of any writers working on such materials.

    B. A hyphenate member should determine and confirm that

    literary material on which he/she performs non-writing services is not

    material proscribed by the Strike Rules. In the event a hyphenate is

    asked to perform non-writing services on a "scab script", he/she should

    refuse. In addition, the hyphenate member should report the request and

    deliver copies of such material to the Guild. Note: For purposes of

    this Rule, a "scab script" is any literary material written or

    rewritten by anyone for a struck company during a strike or literary

    material optioned or purchased by a struck company during a strike.

  23.  

  24. Rules pertaining to non members

    The Guild does not have the authority to discipline non members for

    strike breaking and/or scab writing. However, the Guild can and will

    bar that writer from future Guild membership.

    This policy has been strictly enforced in the past and has resulted in

    convincing many would be strike breakers to refrain from seriously

    harming the Guild and its members during a strike. Therefore, it is

    important for you to report to the Guild the name of any non member

    whom you believe has performed any writing services for a struck

    company and as much information as possible about the non member's

    services.

 

Disciplinary Actions

The Guild's disciplinary procedures (Article X of each Guild's

Constitution) not only protect the Guild from conduct harmful to a

strike effort, but also protect the due process rights of members

charged with violations and include hearing and appeal procedures. A

copy of Article X is attached for your review.

Article X gives the Guild the authority to impose

discipline for violations of the Strike Rules by Guild members.

Discipline may include, but is not limited to, any or all of the

following: expulsion or suspension from Guild membership, imposition of

monetary fines, or censure. Discipline imposed is enforceable through

the courts.

 

Questions About the Strike Rules

Writers and Guild staff, in consultation with the Guild's legal

department, will be available during normal working hours at the

Guild's strike headquarters to answer questions and to interpret the

application of these Rules to specific circumstances. All writers

should feel free to use this service if in doubt as to a contemplated

course of action.