Writers Guild Strike FAQ

When did the strike begin?

On Friday, November 2nd, the WGAE Council and

WGAW Board unanimously voted to go on strike Monday, November 5th at 12:01 AM.

At that time, all Guild-covered work under the MBA stopped.

What are the rules governing what I

do during a strike?

The WGAE Council

has issued strike

rules to cover the actions and expectations of Guild members during a

strike, including the type

of work you may not do. They specifically prohibit pitching to or negotiating

with a struck company. In addition, you may not provide writing

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

 

Do

I still have health coverage?

Yes, the Writers' Guild-Industry Health Fund plan will

continue to cover all members for their current term. If you have any questions

about your coverage or eligibility, please call the plan at 800-227-7863 and

ask for "Eligibility." You can also visit www.wgaplans.org.

If you are at the end

of your eligibility period, the WGAE offers a number of complementary health

services.

 

What about my pension benefits?

The

Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan benefits are based on contributions on covered work. Your

Pension Plan will remain in place throughout the strike, although you will not

accrue new covered earnings for the duration of the strike.

 

If I need financial assistance

during the strike, what should I do?

The WGAE has established a Strike Fund to provide financial

assistance to members during the strike. Strike Fund benefits, in the

form of no interest loans, are available to striking WGAE members who face

demonstrable financial hardship. If you are in need of emergency assistance, please

review the Criteria for Strike Fund Assistance and Repayment Terms. The Strike Fund currently stands at $2.58 million.

Will I get paid for work I've already done?

You must and should be paid for any work done and delivered

before the work stoppage, per your contract. If the Company fails to pay you for

your work, they will be subject to grievance and arbitration. If this is your

situation, please contact the WGAE Contract Department at 212-767-7803.

 

How long will the strike last?

Until we achieve a fair contract, as outlined in

the WGA Negotiating Committee proposals. The purpose

of the strike is to withhold our written work and force

the companies and networks realize their success is dependent upon returning to

the bargaining table and negotiating a fair contract for screen and television

writers.

The script I wrote and delivered before the strike is now in production. Can

I offer minor assistance as it's produced?

No. During the strike you may not rewrite or polish a

previously delivered script. This is considered performing a writing service,

which is prohibited during a strike.

What am I allowed to

write during the strike? Can I write for non-MBA companies?

It is the WGA's

objective to expand our jurisdiction and cover more of our work. So, even if

the work is not currently covered by the MBA (and not governed by the strike),

it may be an area we're negotiating to cover — for example, work that is

produced for and distributed via new media. You should call the WGAE before

accepting any writing work during the strike.

Can I write for animation during a strike?

The strike rules apply to all network primetime animated

series covered under the MBA. However, writers wishing to perform writing

services for any other animated show or film should call the staff at the WGAE

before agreeing to perform such writing services, as they may be covered under

the strike rules.

 

Am I allowed to accept

other work in the entertainment industry during the strike?

You may do any type of work that is not television or screen

writing during a strike. We request you not accept any form of work for an MBA

signatory as our strike is intended to make it difficult for these companies to

continue normal business operations while we are on strike.

 

If it is a long

strike, when am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits depend on where your employer is

based. In New York, striking WGAE members are entitled to unemployment benefits after seven weeks (or less if replacement workers are hired). However, WGAE members should apply now in order to start the clock on this waiting period. Keep in mind that the benefit payment is determined by numerous factors,

and not everyone may be entitled to receive unemployment. Click here for

information on unemployment benefits.

What if there's a

picket line in front of a struck company where I have business other than

writing?

The WGAE discourages all WGAE members from crossing a WGAE

picket line. The success of this strike depends on the solidarity of our

membership and their commitment to withholding writing.

 

What do I do if someone

in the press approaches me?

Media (print, TV, radio, online) may call you unsolicited

for information and opinions on the strike and negotiations. You are under no

obligation to talk. If you choose to speak to the media, the WGAE is happy to

help you with facts or information prior to responding, as well as provide you

with advice and assistance. Contact Sherry Goldman, who handles the WGAE's

public relations, at 718-224-4133 or email her at sherry@goldmanpr.net. Even if you don't need our help, let Sherry

know which media you've spoken to so we can track media coverage of our strike.

What do I do if asked

to violate the strike rules?

First, don't do the

work. The strike is only as effective as every member's commitment to standing

together in support of achieving a fair contract. In addition, violation of the

strike rules can be subject to disciplinary procedures by the WGAE. Second,

call the WGAE and report the incident.

What should I do if I

know someone is working in violation of the strike?

First, urge them to

stop their work. Second, call the WGAE

and let us know. The impact of our strike is dependent

on WGAE members stopping their work. It is critical that everyone obeys the

strike rules so that the power of this strike is felt by the networks, studios,

and conglomerates.

I'm not a member of

the Guild. What can I write and what can I not write? What should I do if I am asked to do MBA-covered work?

If you are not a

member of the WGA, we cannot tell you what you can or cannot write. However, the Guild can and will bar any

writer who performs struck work from future Guild membership.

 

I

still have questions. Who should I ask?

Check in with your Contract Captain;

they are the first to receive updates and information from the various strike

committees and WGAE staff. In addition, you may always give the WGAE office a

call at 212-767-7800. The entire WGAE staff is there to help you. Chris Aikin

and Leah Tedrick-Moutz in the organizing department will answer questions

specifically related to the strike rules.

This FAQ didn't answer my

question!

Send your question to Susan DeCarava at

sdecarava@wgaeast.org and she'll

post an answer as soon as possible.

 

Read the

Strike Rules >

Learn more

about Contract 2007 >