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The Writers Guild of America East has a sister in Los Angeles — The Writers Guild of America, West. The two guilds work collectively on national agreements and independently on work pertaining to their region. The Mississippi River serves as the dividing line in terms of membership affiliation. Members of both Guilds enjoy the benefits, privileges and protections under the various national Minimum Basic Agreements in effect in the field of radio, television and motion pictures. The two unions work together when negotiating the MBA.
All members, East and West share the same primary benefits and hold the same responsibilities under similar Constitutions. All members East and West work under the same rules, the same contracts and may work on either coast or in-between.
The annual Writers Guild Awards is another joint program with awards for writers in a range of media voted on by members of both Guilds.
A Joint Council and a National Council consisting of Council Members from the East and equivalent Board Members from the West, each meet twice a year, once in Los Angeles and once in New York. At these meetings delegates from both Guilds coordinate policy and administration. In addition, representatives from both Guilds serve as trustees of the national joint industry pension and health funds, and there is continuing communication and close coordination between the two Guilds.
You might not see the similarities between school teachers and television comedy writers, but they share a major commonality: they have employers.
The AFL-CIO is the largest federation of labor unions in the US. As a member of the AFL-CIO, the WGAE is part of a powerful organization that gives voice to nearly 10 million working men and women. The Guild is formally affiliated through the AFl-CIO’s Department for Professional employees, a grouping which includes actors, musicians, athletes, doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers among others. Besides aligning the Guild more closely with the broader labor community, affiliation provides access to resources including legislative expertise, economic research and information and assistance during negotiations and strikes.
Unions offer support to each other’s members in times of need. For example, during the Writers Strike of 2008 countless union leaders from around the country and union members who don’t even work in the entertainment industry came out to our picket lines to show their support.
We’re proud of our work in the labor movement, from supporting the Employee Free Choice Act to mobilizing the entertainment industry around the issues of media diversity and consolidation. The core values of the labor movement these actions represent — strength at the bargaining table through unity and collective action — inform our commitment to leveling the playing field and representing writers in the entertainment industry.
The WGAE works with a wide range of institutions and organizations to promote the shared interest of their members. Partner organizations include:
- Writers Guild East Foundation
- Channel 101 New York
- The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP)
- International Academy of Web Television
- MOST Resource
- National Association of Black Journalists
- New York Women in Film and Television
- New York Independent Television Festival
- New York Production Alliance
- The Paley Center for Media
- Women in Film, Television and Media
- Woodstock Film Festival
- Silver Docs
- Mayor’s Office of Television and Radio
- 92Y Tribeca
- The Creative Coalition
- Women in the Arts and Media Coalition
Representing the English speaking guilds of professional screenwriters around the globe, the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds works to further the cause of screenwriters worldwide by urging governments to adopt writer-friendly legislation and through collective action, mutual support and common representation internationally. Visit the IAWG site >>