After reaching a zero-hour deal early Tuesday morning to avoid a strike that could have scuttled Hollywood production for months, the Writers Guild of America sent a letter to its membership detailing the results of the tentative new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
The previous contract between writers and producers expired at midnight on May 1, but both sides agreed to a 10-minute extension to hammer out the details, including an increase in AMPTP contributions to the WGA’s health care plans and a 15 percent bump in pay TV residuals.
The WGA also made gains on the fraught issue of “span” — shorthand for the length of time writers work for what they’re paid. Writers on television are usually paid per episode, even if a short order series requires the same amount of time, or similar, to complete as a traditional season length.
Writers will now be paid their per-episode fee for every 2.4 weeks of work, with any work beyond that timeframe requiring additional compensation.
The guild estimated that the contract will lead to $130 million in gains overall.
Read the full letter:
May 2, 2017
Your Negotiating Committee is pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP that we can recommend for ratification.
In it, we made gains in minimums across the board – as well as contribution increases to our Health Plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in Options and Exclusivity.
We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.
We won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.
And, also for the first time ever, job protection on Parental Leave.
Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not. But because we had the near-unanimous backing of you and your fellow writers, we were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept.
That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives.
We will, of course, provide more details in the next few days. But until then, we just wanted to thank you – and congratulate you. Your voices were indeed heard.
Your 2017 Negotiating Committee
Chip Johannessen, Co-Chair
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
Billy Ray, Co-Chair
Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
Howard Michael Gould
Patric M. Verrone
Howard A. Rodman, WGAW President, ex-officio
Michael Winship, WGAE President, ex-officio
David A. Goodman, WGAW Vice President, ex-officio
Jeremy Pikser, WGAE Vice President, ex-officio
Aaron Mendelsohn, WGAW Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio
Bob Schneider, WGAE Secretary-Treasurer, ex-officio