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Words of Support
At the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds meeting in Montreal on November 14th, 2007 the member guilds unanimously passed the following resolution:
The IAWG wholeheartedly supports the Writers Guild of America (East and West) in their strike against the giant multinational media conglomerates. Screenwriters are entitled to a fair share of the revenues generated by their work regardless of the medium of distribution. The WGA has fought for these rights in the past. New media is the future of our business and we stand beside our colleagues as they fight again for future generations of screenwriters.
Australian Writers Guild, the Irish Playwrights and Screenwriters
Guild, the New Zealand Writers Guild, the Société des auteurs de radio,
télévision et cinéma (SARTEC), the Writers Guild of America, East, the
Writers Guild of America, West, the Writers Guild of Canada, and the
Writers Guild of Great Britain.
The Freelance Industrial Council of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland sends fraternal greetings and best wishes to you and every member of the Writers Guild in your current strike action.
As freelance union members, we wish to commend you on your action to try to establish the principle of additional remuneration for the use of your material across new, especially electronic, media.
As journalists, we face many similar battles to try to gain such payments. Some of those organisations against which you are taking action are also employers of writers, journalists and NUJ members in the United Kingdom.
We wish to extend our best wishes to you and wish you every success with your action.
We should be grateful if you would pass on our message of support to all those involved in the action.
Adam Christie, Vice-Chair
Important Message to WGC Members on WGA Strike
The Writers Guild of America announced last night that its members were going out on strike effective immediately after months of fruitless negotiations with the AMPTP and US studios. Despite best efforts by the WGA bargaining team to negotiate a fair deal upon the termination of its collective agreement as of October 31st all attempts failed.
WGC President Rebecca Schechter and Executive Director Maureen Parker attended the WGA bargaining in Los Angeles last week and witnessed first hand the complete disregard of our colleagues' bargaining issues by the AMPTP. As a sister guild and fellow member of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds we will support the Writers Guild of America during its strike to the fullest extent possible. The issues the WGA is addressing will affect every professional artist seeking compensation for their work in the digital age. Their fight is our fight.
As a member of the WGC you have certain obligations as spelt out in the WGC Constitution and By Laws. Listed below are three basic rules which will govern the conduct of the WGC and its members for the duration of the WGA strike.
- If you are a dual member of the WGC and the WGA and you reside in the U.S., WGA strike rules apply. Should you have any questions about this please contact the WGA directly.
- If you are a dual member of the WGC and the WGA and you reside in Canada as confirmed by the WGC database, you may of course work for a Canadian producer whose principal place of business, at the time the writer is contracted, is in Canada. You will continue to work under the Writers Independent Production Agreement, which carries on in force until December 31, 2008. If you are a WGC member residing in Canada and you are approached to work for an American engager you shall not be permitted to work for such engager as per the WGC Constitution and By Laws. Our Constitution and By Laws are posted on our website.
- If you have an existing writing contract under the WGC IPA with a WGA waiver which has already been filed with the WGC, and which has not yet been fully delivered upon, please contact the WGC Agreement Administration department.
Any further inquiries please address to the WGC Agreement Administration Department.
WGC Council passed the following motion today:
"It is moved that the Writers Guild of Canada Council supports the Writers Guild of America in its strike action to gain fair compensation for the ongoing use of their members' work."
The motion was carried unanimously.
We will keep our members fully apprised of any new developments. We wish our colleagues in the US a speedy resolution to this strike.
Rebecca Schechter, President
Maureen Parker, Executive Director
"All Work Should Be Paid Fairly"
SEIU Members Stand with the Striking Writers
Andy Stern to Join Writers on Picket Line at 2 p.m. Today
WASHINGTON, DC-Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today released the following statement on the Writers Guild strike:
"SEIU members stand with the writers. We understand all too well what it is to be left behind in a global economy. Seeing this attempt to deny the writers their fair share illustrates the raw deal so many workers face today when profit and power is concentrated in the hands of a few, be it media corporations or private equity billionaires.
"Everyone in America should share in the benefits of the new media technologies that are propelling our country forward at an unprecedented pace. SEIU urges the producers to what's right for America – to work with the writers to see that all working people are justly rewarded for their work."
Andy Stern will join striking writers on a picket line at the Time Warner Center in New York City at 2:00 pm.
A Statement by the Dramatists Guild of America
The Dramatists Guild of America, on behalf of our 6000 member playwrights and musical theater writers, offers our support to our colleagues at the Writers Guild of America in their effort to win a fair contract.
Producers need to remember that in the beginning was the word…not the download. And those who write the words are entitled to share in the revenues generated by their work, whether the source of the revenue is old or new.
Writing is a lonely profession, but writers are not alone when they stand together. And so we stand with the WGA, in solidarity, hoping for a quick and fair outcome that is representative to the needs of the movie and television writers they represent.
Signed on behalf of The Dramatists Guild by:
David Henry Hwang
John Patrick Shanley
European screenwriters support their striking colleagues in America
November 8, 2007:
The board of the Federation of Screenwriters in Europe (FSE) pledges
support to colleagues in the Writers Guild of America who are now on
FSE has called on all its members and all European writers to refuse
to break the strike by filling in for US writers in dispute. FSE
President Christina Kallas stated in a letter of support to Patrick
Verrone of the WGAW and Michael Winship of the WGAE:
"The FSE will be distributing information about the strike to our
twenty two member guilds in eighteen European countries and asking them
to do everything they can to support the WGA strike….Your fight is
On Wednesday 30 October the US Film studios and TV networks,
represented by the Association of Motion Picture and Television
Producers (AMPTP) rejected all talk of further negotiations leaving the
two unions no other option but to recommend to their members to strike.
The TV networks and film studios refused to consider any revision on
the existing DVD deal, which pays the writer the peanuts sum of 4 cents
on each $15 DVD, and would extend the same minimal terms to internet
downloads and mobile phone viewing.
European screenwriters view the position of the AMPTP as unjust and
totally unacceptable. The FSE board calls on all writers organisations
but also other creators' organisations to send messages of support to
the American guilds and to ensure that none of their screenwriter
members undermines the strike by sending in scripts or carrying out any
kind of strikebreaking activity.
For further information please contact the FSE office in Brussels.
AUSTRALIAN WRITERS' GUILD PLEDGES SUPPORT
Monday 5 November 2007: The Australian Writers' Guild (AWG) pledges support to our colleagues in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) who have voted to go on strike as of 12.01am Monday 5 November, 2007.
The 10,500 members of the Writers Guild of America are striking to increase minimum payments when writing for new media and increase residual payments for DVD sales, internet downloads and mobile phone transmissions.
Nearly 3,000 WGA members packed the Los Angeles Convention Center last week for what became the largest membership meeting in WGA history, where writers expressed their anger at the production companies' refusal to bargain seriously.
‘We call on our members – and all Australian writers – to refuse to break the strike by filling in for striking US writers' said AWG Executive Director Jacqueline Woodman.
‘Strikebreaking to get work in Hollywood may be seen by some as a career opportunity or simply a short-term payday, but taking work in America at this time would completely end any chance of a future U.S. career.'
Under Australian trade union laws the AWG cannot issue a strike instruction or discipline any members who defy the strike. Woodman points out, however, that solidarity is a strong motivator for Australian writers. During the last WGA strike in 1988, there was solid support by Australian writers, with very few cases of strikebreaking and we fully expect the same support this time.
And for those few unswayed by solidarity, self interest may convince them. Rule 13 of the WGA Strike Rules states:
‘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.'
Without WGA membership, it is virtually impossible for a writer to work for the major networks and studios in the USA.
Woodman also points out that the AWG, along with the writers' guilds of Great Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa among others – is a signatory to the "Auckland Declaration", signed in 2000, which states:
‘To the greatest extent permitted by contract and law, the guilds pledge to honor work stoppages, publicize information about work stoppages to their respective memberships, and to lend all aid possible to each other in support of negotiating goals.'
‘This means not only do we strongly advise our members not to engage in strikebreaking, if we learn of any cases of strikebreaking either by AWG members or non-members, we will not hesitate to inform the WGA so that they can investigate according to their rules' said Woodman.
The AWG is currently fighting similar battles at home and wholeheartedly supports our U.S. colleagues in fighting for a fair deal.
American writers on strike – WGGB pledges support
An official statement from the WGGB
The Writers' Guild of Great Britain pledges support to colleagues in the Writers Guild of America who have gone on strike.
We call on our members – and all UK writers – to refuse to break the strike by filling in for US writers in dispute. WGGB General Secretary Bernie Corbett said: "Strikebreaking would at best bring a short-term payday, but would have a devastating long-term effect on a writers' US career."
The 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America are striking to get better payments when the shows they write are re-sold as DVDs, internet downloads and mobile phone transmissions. Weeks of talks with representatives of US TV networks and film studios broke down earlier this week.
On 1 November nearly 3,000 WGA members packed the Los Angeles Convention Center. At this meeting, the largest membership meeting in WGA history, writers expressed their anger at the companies' refusal to bargain seriously.
Under UK trade union laws the WGGB cannot issue a strike instruction, nor can it discipline any members who defy the strike. However, the WGGB points out the serious implications of the WGA strike rules. Rule 13 of the WGA Strike Rules states: "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." Without WGA membership, it is virtually impossible for a writer to work for the main networks and studios in the USA.
The Writers' Guild of Great Britain recalls that during the last WGA strike in 1988, there was solid support by UK writers, with very few cases of strikebreaking. We expect the same to be the case this time round as well.
At the time of writing it was not known when the strike would officially begin. It follows a 90 per cent vote by members in favour of action.
The TV networks and film studios, represented by the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have refused to budge from their existing DVD deal, which pays the writer a mere 4 cents on each $15 DVD, and would extend the same minimal terms to internet downloads and mobile phone viewing.
The Writers' Guild of Great Britain, along with writers' guilds in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and other countries, is a signatory to the "Auckland Declaration", signed in 2000, which states: "To the greatest extent permitted by contract and law, the guilds pledge to honor work stoppages, publicize information about work stoppages to their respective memberships, and to lend all aid possible to each other in support of negotiating goals."
Corbett said: "This means we strongly advise our members not to engage in strikebreaking, and on top of that if we learn of any cases of strikebreaking either by WGGB members or non-members, we will not hesitate to inform the WGA so that they can follow it up according to their rules. "As it happens the Writers' Guild of Great Britain has been able to negotiate satisfactory terms with UK broadcasters covering DVDs, internet downloads, mobile phones, etc. It is right that we should support our American colleagues as they fight to achieve the same kind of terms.
"We are contacting the major UK broadcasters and producers, and the UK Film Council, asking them not to dump UK material into the US market, and not to dress up American projects to look as though they are British. Any such manoeuvres would bring at best a short-term advantage, whereas the adverse consequences could last for years.
"Last time the WGA went on strike, in 1988, it lasted five months and for all that time WGGB members kept up their support. We are sure that this time our members will show the same discipline and solidarity. In a global industry, it is in our interests as well as theirs."
The WGGB will keep members informed about the progress of the WGA strike by emails and postings on our website. Members can also get information by checking www.wga.org or www.wgaeast.org. WGGB members with individual queries should contact the Guild on 020 7833 0777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Les 10 500 membres de la Writers Guild of America (WGA) ont déclenché une grève illimitée, le lundi 5 novembre à 12 h 01, après cinq mois de négociations infructueuses entre la WGA et l'AMPTP (Alliance des producteurs de cinéma et de télévision). Le contrat d'une durée de trois ans arrivait à échéance le 31 octobre. C'est plus de 3 000 scénaristes membres de la WGA qui, jeudi dernier à Los Angeles, ont exprimé leur colère devant le refus des producteurs de négocier une juste part des droits d'auteur quant aux nouveaux modes de diffusion (Internet, téléphones portables, baladeurs numériques, DVD).
La SARTEC, tout comme la WGAE et la WGAW, est membre de l'Affiliation internationale des guildes d'auteurs (IAWG) dont la prochaine rencontre se tiendra la semaine prochaine à Montréal.
Les membres de l'IAWG sont solidaires des guildes américaines et invitent tous les auteurs à appuyer leurs collègues.