A Message from the Contract 2007 Negotiating Committee, WGAE Council and WGAW Board

October 1, 2007

Dear WGA Member:

You are undoubtedly aware that our current 2007 MBA negotiations are potentially the most important in

a generation. At stake are serious issues that affect writers, including coverage of writing for the Internet,

cell phones and other new media; residuals for reuse on new media; the home video (DVD) residuals formula;

and Guild coverage of animation and reality.

Because the stakes are so high, it is necessary to empower your negotiators with the tools needed to make

the best possible deal.We are writing to request that WGA members vote to authorize the WGA West

Board and the WGA East Council to call a strike in the event that a fair and reasonable contract cannot

be negotiated with the networks and studios. This is a step that unions regularly take, and that we have

taken in the past, particularly in negotiations where fundamental issues regarding our future are on the

table.

What is the status of negotiations?

We have done extensive preparation for these negotiations. The elected leadership and Negotiating

Committee, in consultation with our sister talent guilds and assisted by our staffs, spent months researching

the state of the industry and crafting our proposals. This process produced a set of proposals which are

fair and reasonable.We are not interested in breaking the bank or righting every past wrong.We want to

see the industry continue to succeed and grow. But we must ensure that writers keep up with that growth

and success, and participate in the revenue generated by our work in new markets.

Since talks began on July 16, the Companies have refused to engage in serious negotiations. Instead, they

have rejected each of our proposals and responded with a “comprehensive” proposal of their own: thirtytwo

pages of draconian rollbacks that would eviscerate virtually every gain that writers have made in the

past 50 years. The full text of the Companies' proposal, as well as the WGA proposals, may be viewed in

the Contract 2007 section of our websites, wga.org or wgaeast.org. It suffices to say here that the

Companies' proposal would effectively eliminate residuals, separated rights and credits as we know them,

and leave the WGA without coverage of product written for new media.

Are the Companies serious about this proposal? They can't be. They know that it is unacceptable to every

writer, director and actor in Hollywood. But they have left the rollbacks on the table and refuse to address

the significant issues that must be resolved in these negotiations. This may be a stall tactic, or it may

reflect the Companies' belief that they can get a better deal from another union.Whatever the reasons, it

is apparent that the Companies do not yet feel the pressure to conduct serious negotiations. That is why

the Negotiating Committee and elected leadership have taken the serious step of asking you to authorize

a strike.

Why now?

The WGA leadership has met face to face with thousands of our members over the past two years in

order to hear your views and prepare for these negotiations.We have also worked to forge a negotiating

alliance with the Screen Actors Guild based on our common issues.We know that they stand with us in their determination to secure a good contract in this cycle of negotiations. Perhaps as a result of this

alliance, there has been speculation in the press about the WGA working past its contract expiration of

October 31, 2007 to line up with the Screen Actors Guild in June 2008.

Our strategic alliance with SAG is strong, and working past our contract expiration remains an option.

But our proposals are reasonable, and the WGA's goal remains to negotiate a fair agreement now.What

we cannot do is make a weak deal that we will regret for the next 20 years. It is vital to ensure that writers

keep up with the great success of this industry, a success of which we are primary creators.

Does a yes vote mean there will be a strike?

No. The Guild's leadership will do everything in its power to avoid a work stoppage. A yes vote means

that you are giving the elected leadership — the WGAW Board and WGAE Council, in consultation

with the Negotiating Committee — the authority to call a strike at the right strategic moment if it

becomes necessary to do so.We assure you that we will exercise this responsibility with the fullest degree

of prudence and restraint.

The members of the Negotiating Committee,WGAW Board and WGAE Council unanimously voted

to seek strike authorization at this time. Our names appear below.We are asking the membership to act

with the same unity and seriousness of purpose in granting this request. Please vote yes.

 

WGAE Council

Michael Winship, President

Bob Schneider, Vice-President

Gail Lee, Secretary-Treasurer

John Auerbach

Walter Bernstein

Adam Brooks

Sue Brown

Tim Carvell

David Steven Cohen

Gina Gionfriddo

Susan Kim

Andy Meppen

Kate Miller

Pippin Parker

Phil Pilato

Tom Phillips

Marianne Pryor

Melissa Salmons

Courtney Simon

Duane Tollison

 

 

 

 

 

Negotiating Committee

John F. Bowman, Chair

John Auerbach

Neal Baer

Marc Cherry

Bill Condon

Carlton Cuse

Stephen Gaghan

Terry George

David A. Goodman

Carl Gottlieb

Susannah Grant

Carol Mendelsohn

Marc Norman

Shawn Ryan

Robin Schiff

Melissa Salmons

Ed Solomon

Alternates

Ron Bass

Andrew Bergman

Walter Bernstein

David Black

Howard Michael Gould

Mark Gunn

Robert King

Aaron Mendelsohn

Pippin Parker

Bob Schneider

Steven Schwartz

Dan Wilcox

Larry Wilmore

Michael Winship

WGAW Board of Directors

Patric M. Verrone, President

David N.Weiss, Vice President

Elias Davis, Secretary-Treasurer

Ron Bass

John F. Bowman

Nancy De Los Santos

David A. Goodman

Mark Gunn

Nick Kazan

Kathy Kiernan

Robert King

Peter Lefcourt

Aaron Mendelsohn

Joan Meyerson

Phil Alden Robinson

Howard A. Rodman

Robin Schiff

Tom Schulman

Dan Wilcox

 

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