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Contract 2007: UPDATES
November 5, 2007 – 2:38 a.m.
Early today, the WGA completely withdrew its DVD proposal, which the Companies said was a stumbling block. Yet, the Companies still insisted on the following:
- No jurisdiction for most of new media writing.
- No economic proposal for the part of new media writing where they do propose to give coverage.
- Internet downloads at the DVD rate.
- No residual for streaming video of theatrical product.
- A "promotional" proposal that allows them to reuse even complete movies or TV shows on any platform with no residual. This proposal alone destroys residuals.
- A "window” of free reuse on the Internet that makes a mockery of any residual.
The AMPTP made no response to any of the other proposals that the WGA has made since July. The AMPTP proposed that today's meeting be "off the record,” meaning no press statements, but they have reneged on that.
November 5, 2007 – 12:30 a.m.
As of 12:01 AM November 5th, the WGA strike is on in the Eastern
time zone. WGAE members should report for picketing at Rockefeller
Plaza starting at 9:00 AM today. At 12:30 AM EST, talks between the AMPTP and the WGA ended.
November 2, 2007 – 4:30 p.m.
This afternoon, the WGAE Council and WGAW Board unanimously
voted to call a strike. The Writers Guilds will go on strike Monday,
November 5th at 12:01 AM. At that time, all Guild-covered work under
the MBA must cease. We will be sending more detailed information over
the weekend. more >
November 2, 2007 – 3:30 a.m.
A letter from WGAE President Michael Winship announces that the Contract 2007 negotiating committee made an
unanimous recommendation that the WGAE and WGAW implement the strike authorization
approved so overwhelmingly by the membership two weeks ago. Read the letter >
October 31, 2007
As of 10:00 pm on Wednesday, October 31st, negotiations between the
WGA and AMPTP have ended for the day without progress. No new
negotiations are scheduled. WGAE members should continue to work until
WGAE President Michael Winship and WGAW President Patric M. Verrone issued the following letter to their memberships >
October 30, 2007
The WGA Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the WGAE and the wGAW, has issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:
"Today's negotiations began at 10:00 AM. No significant progress was made. At 4:30 PM, we informed the AMPTP that we would prepare a comprehensive package proposal for their review today. At 6:45 PM, we told them the proposal would be ready in 15 minutes. Management negotiators responded by saying they preferred to leave for the day and hear our proposal tomorrow, the expiration date of our contract."
October 26, 2007
The WGA Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the WGAE
and the WGAW, has issued the following statement regarding Contract
"This morning, we responded to the package presented yesterday
by the AMPTP. We agreed to several of their proposals and withdrew or
modified a number of our own proposals in order 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 WGA and insisted that
negotiations return to the AMPTP. They declined to meet again until
Tuesday. This means only two days remain to resolve the substantive
issues of this negotiation before Wednesday night's contract deadline."
David Young's Contract 2007 Statement
This is a complex business and one that faces significant technological change. But it is also simple: it is a business where everything depends upon quality content being distributed across multiple platforms. In conversations over the past year, three top executives of your companies made that exact statement to me. Everything depends upon quality content.
In the process of content creation, writers are fundamental creators. Compelling, exciting, humorous stories are the linchpin of the industry's success. Writers create the basic material that drives your success.
For this reason, the relationship between creative talent and the industry is also fundamental. You can't generate quality content without us and we cannot bring that content to the world without you. This relationship is one of the great strategic advantages that you possess in a global market.
We could argue at length about the economics and prospects of the business. And we have. But I want you to know that our view in this regard is essentially unchanged: despite inevitable challenges, your companies are highly successful. Box office, ad revenue, foreign and ancillary markets all continue to grow and prosper. All of the projections that we've analyzed, including those from industry veterans Adams, Price Waterhouse, Veronis Suhler and E Marketer, as well as your own SEC filings, predict that digital distribution will spur additional solid growth in the coming years.
For a few decades now there has been a growing feeling among writers that they are slowly being left behind. Every new technology or genre, instead of being treated as a new opportunity for mutual growth and benefit, is presented to us as some unfathomable obstacle that requires flexibility from writers–meaning a cheap deal that remains in place. This happened with home video. It happened with basic cable. It has happened with Reality TV. Now you want it to happen with new media and the Internet.
We have to find a way in this negotiation to deal with all of these issues in a manner that is fair to writers and fair to the industry. We want to do that. That is why we are here.
Whether or not that will be possible remains to be seen. We are well aware that negotiations are about power and the ability to exercise it. We're prepared to do that.
But negotiations are also about the willingness to explore compromises and we are prepared to do that, too. It is in this spirit, and with the objective of finding common ground by October 31, that we have prepared the material that we will share with you now.
October 25, 2007
The following statement was issued by John F. Bowman, chair of the WGA Negotiating Committee, on behalf of the WGAW and the WGAE regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:
"Our employers are growing and dominate the global entertainment industry. Yet their opening offer would have rolled back our compensation by 50%. Now they decrease the rollbacks to 45% and proclaim that they are truly bargaining. Minor adjustments to major rollbacks do not constitute forward motion. To make a deal, the AMPTP must engage with us on the issues that matter in this negotiation. With that in mind, we will respond to their proposal tomorrow."
October 22, 2007
WGAW and WGAE have issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:
"We have no intention of discussing the producers' rollback proposals. Not now, not ever. The producers asked to take Tuesday off to caucus."
October 19, 2007
Negotiations with the AMPTP will resume Monday, October 22
October 15, 2007
WGA Negotiating Committee Chair John F. Bowman issued the following statement in response to the AMPTP:
"WGA members don't need management's help in determining the rules that would apply during a work stoppage. Writers will make that decision democratically and for themselves. The AMPTP should worry less about our internal processes and more about avoiding a strike by negotiating a fair agreement."
October 11, 2007
WGAE and WGAW have issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:
we move toward our contract expiration on October 31, we look forward
to a serious discussion with the Companies. There are a number of
important issues that must be dealt with, including home video, new
media, and jurisdiction. So far the AMPTP has not been serious."
October 10, 2007
"The Writers Guilds of America, East and West held negotiations again today with the AMPTP and the Networks. Negotiations will resume tomorrow morning."
October 9, 2007
The WGAE and the WGAW have issued the following statement regarding Contract 2007 negotiations:
"At today's negotiating session with the AMPTP, we made a presentation concerning our home video proposal. We also gave the AMPTP contract language on 19 of our 26 proposals. Bargaining will resume tomorrow at 1:30 p.m."
October 6, 2007
MBA Issues: The Truth About the AMPTP
"We've had some inquiries about a statement the AMPTP released Friday afternoon…" more>
October 5, 2007
9:30 p.m.: A Statement from John Bowman, Chair of the WGA Negotiating Committee, and Negotiating Committee members Susannah Grant, Neal Baer, Bill Condon, and Shawn Ryan. more>
6:30 p.m.: "The Writers Guilds of America, East and West conducted negotiations with the AMPTP and the Networks on Thursday and Friday. Negotiations will resume on Tuesday morning."
October 4, 2007
"The WGA conducted negotiations with the AMPTP today that concluded at 4:30pm and will resume tomorrow."
October 2, 2007
The Guild Responds to the Companies' Proposals
During MBA negotiations on September 19, 2007, the Guild gave its
response to the Companies' so-called Comprehensive Package Proposal.
The Companies' proposals are comprised of 32 single-spaced pages
containing rollbacks of every fundamental protection writers have won
in the last 50 years. more >
October 2, 2007
John Bowman, Chair of the WGA Negotiating Committee, and Negotiating
Committee members Susannah Grant, Neal Baer, Bill Condon, and Shawn
Ryan have issued the following statement:
"While the WGA remains determined to make a fair deal, at this stage of the negotiations the AMPTP is still stuck on its rollback proposals including profit-based residuals. Our members will not stand for that. The entertainment industry is successful and growing like never before. Writers, whose creativity is at the heart of that success and growth, are committed to sharing in it. Next Tuesday, we will return to the table and once again present our serious and fair