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Important Letter From WGAE President Michael Winship
Dear Fellow Members of the Writers Guild of America, East:
As we near contract expiration, we remain steadfast in our resolve to make a fair and respectful deal, all the time upholding our willingness to continue to hold a frank and honest discussion across the table.
Friday morning in Los Angeles, our negotiating team responded to a package presented Thursday by the AMPTP. We agreed to several of their proposals and withdrew or modified a number of our own to narrow the areas in dispute. We also proposed a smaller working group to address several enforcement proposals made by both sides.
The AMPTP caucused for more than four hours and returned with a package that included new rollbacks related to our pension and health funds. They rejected our modified proposals and ignored our working group offer. They then informed us that they are not comfortable meeting at
the Writers Guild, West, headquarters and insisted that negotiations return to the AMPTP.
Today, we joined with the AMPTP in inviting a federal mediator to work with us when we resume negotiations on Tuesday. We at the Writers Guild have extensive experience working with mediators in negotiating contracts. As per the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, under
the Labor-Management Act of 1947, the FMCS "provides free mediation services in contract negotiation disputes between employers and their unionized employees. All the parties have to do is make a request." The mediator's presence will facilitate the dialogue between the sides, but we will continue to set the agenda and bargain for our goals.
As of Tuesday, only two days will remain to resolve the substantive issues of this negotiation before Wednesday night's contract deadline. We want to reassure you that as regards the specifics of our negotiations, much of what passes for fact or insider information in the media or blogosphere is nothing more than idle rumor, ill-informed speculation, or downright, deliberate misinformation designed to perpetuate mistruths, part of a calculated, anti-Guild public relations strategy.
Your officers and negotiating committee are the best and most reliable and accurate source of information. Rest assured that we will continue to update members with the latest news about the status of negotiations through the Writers Guild, East, website (www.wgaeast.org), e-mails, phone banks, and our Contract Bulletins.
Reaching the best possible contract for writers is our goal. In order to achieve that, we must not be distracted by the noisome background static generated by the Companies and their allies. Onward. We are all in this together. And we will win.
Writers Guild of America, East