About Contract Enforcement
|This page provides a general overview of WGA contract enforcement. You can find specific information about arbitration, free rewrites, late payment and reporting violations by selecting one of the links on the right.
One of the significant components of the Guild’s work is enforcing our contracts at members’ workplaces. “Enforcement” simply means ensuring that the terms laid out in the Guild’s collective bargaining agreements are being met by the employers/signatories of those agreements.
WGA staff members work to make sure that these contracts are being upheld, but truly successful contract enforcement also requires an actively engaged membership. It can be difficult to know whether the rights afforded to you through your union contract have been violated unless you understand the terms of that contract. More importantly, a workplace in which employees are aware of their rights is a workplace in which employers are more effectively held accountable for their actions and policies.
That’s why we encourage WGA members to familiarize themselves with their contracts and their rights, to ask questions, and to remain active and involved in the union.
For more information, visit Report a Violation.
The terms of the various Guild contracts cover everything from compensation and benefits to employee workload and editorial independence. If any of these terms has been violated, the Guild will work to address and remedy the situation.
Reporting a Violation
The first and most crucial step in addressing a contract violation is learning that it happened in the first place. There are three ways in which the Guild uncovers contract violations:
- An individual member contacts their Business Agent (a Guild staff member who helps writers covered by a specific contract) by phone or email. Members can find their Business Agent using the Staff Directory.
- A shop steward reports a violation in a shop meeting or to a union leader. This only occurs with staff contracts where multiple members work at one shop.
- The Guild uncovers a violation during a general audit of documents submitted by a company.
The WGA has also outlined specific steps for reporting violations involving late payment and free rewrites.
Once a complaint is made, the Guild files a formal grievance with the company. If no resolution is reached, the Guild files for arbitration.
If the Guild determines that there has been a contract violation and is unable to resolve the matter, it files a formal grievance. The Guild presents the issues at a meeting with the company. Individuals affected by the grievance may attend these meetings, although they are not required to be present. Often the name of the complainant is unknown to the company.
If the matter remains unresolved, the Guild files for arbitration, and the company must agree to abide by the arbitrator’s decision. Arbitration procedures are clearly set out in each of the Guild’s collective bargaining agreements, although the procedures may vary from one agreement to another. If an arbitrator finds the grievance is valid, or orders a solution, the Guild also participates in making sure the resolution is implemented.
Arbitration procedures are clearly set out in each of the Guild’s collective bargaining agreements, although the procedures may vary from one agreement to another.