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Jocks and Nerds Unite: NFL Players Pledge Solidarity With Hollywood Writers

”There is no question that the AMPTP employers can afford to make a reasonable deal,“ sports union says in letter

The NFL Players Association have come out in support of the Writers Guild of America in the midst of its negotiation with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

“The NFL Players Association is proud to support the Writers Guild of America, East and the Writers Guild of America, West as they negotiate an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers,” said the letter, signed by NFLPA President Eric Winston, executive director DeMaurice Smith and VP Business and Legal Affairs, Sean Sansiveri.

The WGA had been negotiating a new contract for film and TV writers with AMPTP, but those talks broke down toward the end of last month. The WGA’s negotiating committee called for a strike authorization vote March 24, and talks were put on hold again after a two-week hiatus as WGA members voted last week.

The NFL union’s letter also put the onus on producers to agree to WGA demands.

“There is no question that the AMPTP employers can afford to make a reasonable deal,” the letter said. “The top six companies brought in $51 billion in profits in 2016. Whereas, the average television writer’s pay decreased by about 23% in the last two years, and the Guild-sponsored health benefit plan needs a significant infusion of money to keep pace with the outsized increases in health care costs faced by all Americans.”

The contract between the WGA and AMPTP expires on May 1 and a strike would begin on May 2 if a new contract isn’t ratified.

A strike would begin on May 2, and would have an immediate effect on late-night talk shows and “Saturday Night Live,” which is set to return with a new episode on May 6.

See the NFL Players’ union’s full letter below.

Dear Ms. Lombardini,

The NFL Players Association is proud to support the Writers Guild of America, East and the Writers Guild of America, West as they negotiate an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. We write to urge the AMPTP to negotiate in good faith towards a fair and equitable collective bargaining agreement that reflects the hard work of thousands of writers.

The NFLPA has a proud history of enduring hard fought labor disputes to advance the rights and integrity of our members. Through these efforts, the players of the National Football League have established and preserved foundational health protections, mandatory safety standards, and important economic benefits. The NFLPA, like the WGA East and West, represents professional employees whose talent and hard work generate enormous profits for their employers. Our unions negotiate over essential terms of employment, and we ensure the employers honor their commitments to our members.

There is no question that the AMPTP employers can afford to make a reasonable deal. The top six companies brought in $51 billion in profits in 2016. Whereas, the average television writer’s pay decreased by about 23% in the last two years, and the Guild-sponsored health benefit plan needs a significant infusion of money to keep pace with the outsized increases in health care costs faced by all Americans. As such, we applaud the members of the Writers Guilds who recently voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike if their joint negotiating committee concludes, at contract expiration, that a work stoppage is the only way to obtain reasonable contract terms.

In the face of huge profits, declining employee pay and the prospect of losing health benefits – the NFLPA and its members – the nearly 1,700 football players of the National Football League – stand in solidarity with the Writers Guilds as they continue to negotiate for a fair and just contract for writers and their families.