Writers Guild Members Unanimously Ratify Public Television Contract Extension with Increases

NEW YORK, NY (OCTOBER 14, 2014) – The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) announced today that Writers Guild members working in Public Television ratified a two-year extension of their current contract with increases in minimum compensation rates and additional pension contributions.

The WGAE and Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) represent the people who write some of the best-known and most compelling programs broadcast on public television, including Frontline, American Experience, Nova and American Masters. These nonfiction programs routinely win Emmy, Peabody, and Writers Guild awards. Most of the covered shows are produced by WGBH in Boston and WNET in New York, and those stations are signatory to a collective bargaining agreement with the WGAE and the WGAW.

The union reached an agreement with the producers on a two-year extension of the current contract that will increase minimum compensation rates (which in turn are the basis for calculating residual payments) by 2% retroactive to July 1, 2014, and 2.5% on July 1, 2015.  Moreover, the companies must now contribute an additional .5% to the Producer-Writers Guild of America Pension Plan.  The affected members ratified this extension by unanimous vote.

The Writers Guild contract sets the compensation and other terms governing the writing done on covered programs, but most members also perform additional duties on the shows, in particular producing and directing, and many also raise money through grants and other sources to cover production costs.

“Writers Guild members are utterly essential to the creation of the public affairs and cultural programs that public television viewers enjoy and rely on for thoughtful, informed perspectives on the critical issues of our time,” noted Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East. “Without our members’ skill, dedication, and experience, the must-see shows on PBS would not get on the air.”

Peterson added that the work members perform on public TV shows is very similar to the work of writer-producers in commercial nonfiction television. In recent years, the WGAE has negotiated collective bargaining agreements covering writer-producers at three nonfiction production companies and is at the bargaining table with two more companies.

ABOUT THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA, EAST
The Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO (WGAE) is a labor union representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media and broadcast news. The Guild negotiates and administers contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of its members; conducts programs, seminars and events on issues of interest to writers; and presents writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit wgaeast.org.

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