Where We Stand
September 1, 2020
Dear WGA Members,
We want to give you an update on where we stand in our agency campaign.
As you know, the WGA has been negotiating to replace the 1976 AMBA for 18 months: first with the ATA, then when that proved fruitless, with individual agencies.
It’s worked. We have signed over 100 talent agencies to franchise agreements that achieve the twin goals we set for ourselves:
- Curtailing conflicts of interest, most notably packaging fees and affiliated production; and
- Getting the timely information — especially contracts and invoices – the Guild needs to enforce writers’ contracts.
With the signing of UTA and ICM to franchise agreements last month, we now have deals with every significant agency except CAA and WME. Naturally, members want to know what’s happening on this front.
We’ve had cordial discussions with both WME and CAA. We wish we could say we’re close to a deal, but we’re not.
WME and CAA are of course welcome to sign the current agreement, which has evolved as a result of meaningful talks with individual agencies. The WGA has compromised to the extent necessary while ensuring the fundamental goals approved by our membership were maintained. We know that the franchise agreement we now have offers a viable business model for the agencies.
WME and CAA chose to sit out the negotiation for well over a year, hoping members would give up, and relying on a lawsuit that won’t even go to trial, if at all, until summer 2021. To be blunt, we’re not going to give them a different and better deal because they waited; we’ve now gone about as far as we can go. We’re not going to keep pushing back the sunset period on packaging. We’re not going to allow more than 20% ownership of a production studio.
Because of their corporate structures and private equity investors, WME and CAA have to make decisions about the future of their affiliate production companies. We’re happy to hear their plans and proposals, but ultimately it is their responsibility to find a way out of their dilemma. The fact that they began this negotiation more deeply conflicted than other agencies does not mean they can resolve it by remaining more conflicted. We cannot make a deal with them that undercuts the gains this campaign has achieved. We cannot accommodate their conflicts at the cost of our members’ right to be represented by un-conflicted agents.
We want you to know where we stand because members may need to make decisions about their representation. Guild members now have the opportunity to seek to be represented by small, medium or large top-tier agencies.
We’re excited to move forward and continue to strengthen our partnerships with the franchised agencies who have committed to un-conflicted representation of writers. We would welcome WME and CAA to that group. Already, these partnerships have resulted in meaningful improvements in getting members paid on time and in full.
None of this would have been possible without your support and solidarity. Together, we’ve done something remarkable. Now is an appropriate time to appreciate how far we’ve come, how much we’ve achieved and how much courage writers have shown. We will keep you apprised of any additional progress.
WGA Agency Negotiating Committee
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
David Shore, Co-Chair
Meredith Stiehm, Co-Chair
Deric A. Hughes
Tracey Scott Wilson
Patric M. Verrone
Beau Willimon, President WGAE, ex-officio
Kathy McGee, Vice President WGAE, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer WGAE, ex-officio
David A. Goodman, President WGAW, ex-officio
Marjorie David, Vice President WGAW, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, Secretary-Treasurer WGAW, ex-officio
Beau Willimon, President
Kathy McGee, Vice President
Bob Schneider, Secretary-Treasurer
Monica Lee Bellais
Lisa Takeuchi Cullen
WGAW Board of Directors
David A. Goodman, President
Marjorie David, Vice President
Michele Mulroney, Secretary-Treasurer
Dante W. Harper
Deric A. Hughes
Patric M. Verrone