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Basic Provisions of the WGA’s Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA)
The WGAE and WGAW negotiate and enforce the terms of the Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) on behalf of their members. The MBA is the union contract that sets the industry standard for wages, benefits, creative rights and working conditions for writers of film, television, and new media projects. It is negotiated on average every three years with major studios/producers of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). These four basic provisions serve as the foundation of that contract, which are legally binding and can be enforced by the WGA through Arbitration (Articles 10 & 11).
Compensation (Articles 13, 14; Appendix A, B & C; New Media Sideletter)
The MBA Schedule of Minimums sets the minimum rates that WGA Signatory Companies must pay for writing services. The minimums vary according to the type, length and budget of each film, television or new media project. These rates are negotiated by the Guild as part of the MBA, and typically increase between 2% – 3% each year.
Pension & Health Benefits (Article 17)
WGA members who meet a minimum earnings threshold receive excellent WGA health insurance and retirement benefits. WGA signatory companies are required to make contributions on top of a writer’s compensation and certain types of residuals so that s/he can qualify for these benefits. The Pension & Health funds are managed by trustees from both the Guild and AMPTP, and the benefits themselves are separately administered through a WGA Pension & Health Fund office in Burbank, CA.
Credits (Schedule A & B)
Writing credits on Guild covered projects must be approved by the WGA before they are finalized. Credit rules are designed to make sure fair writing credit is issued to the writer(s) who provides the most substantial and original contributions to a final shooting script, and to ensure fair and prominent placement of that credit on screen.
All participating writers on a film, television, and new media project are given the opportunity to accept or challenge credits once they have been proposed by the Company. Credit challenges are brought before a panel of arbiters, which is comprised entirely of experienced WGA members. Those arbiters evaluate all drafts of the script from start to finish in order to best determine what the final writing credit should be. And the Company must abide by all final WGA credit arbitration decisions.
Residuals (Articles 15, 16, 51; Appendix A, B & C; New Media Sideletter)
Residuals are back end compensation paid out to the credited writer(s) of a film, television, or new media project when that project is re-exhibited and/or exploited in virtually every market in perpetuity. Over $200 million in residuals are tracked, collected, and disseminated to writers each year by the WGA.