The Writers Guilds of America (WGA) have put writers on strike at ABC game show “The Chase.” The WGA and ITV America failed to come to terms after a week-plus of talks.
TheWrap first reported those talks to be active. Evidently, they did not come to a satisfactory conclusion.
“We have alerted Writers Guild members that ITV America is refusing to honor the choice of writers at ‘The Chase’ to be represented by the union and to receive pension and health benefits, residuals, and the other basic provisions of our industry wide MBA,” Lowell Peterson, executive director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said in a statement on Wednesday. “Guild members will stand united in not crossing the picket line at ‘The Chase.'”
“ITV refuses to sign the MBA,” Peterson added when TheWrap inquired about the specific disagreements. “It’s laughable that the company pretends to provide health benefits to writers employed for, at most, a few months. The MBA would provide a guaranteed number of weeks based on the number of episodes, health and pension contributions, and residuals. The writers know this and they are unanimous in their decision to strike.”
Peterson told TheWrap there are nine writers on “The Chase.” Some are union members, others are not. Season 1 was not covered by the MBA, or the Minimum Basic Agreement, which guarantees quiz and audience participation show writers provisions like health and pension benefits and residuals.
“After the WGAE approached ITV one week ago, we began good faith negotiations and proposed a package for the writers that includes generous, over scale pay increases and health benefits through the WGA,” an spokesperson for ITV America told TheWrap. “Despite that proposal, the WGAE is refusing to make a deal and insisting on terms that would economically cripple the show. We remain open to continuing discussions with the guild. ITV offers top-tier health benefits to all employees, whether union or non-union.”
The WGA says it informed ITV America a strike would begin at 9 a.m. ET today. And so it did.
WGA East and West have put what they call Working Rule 8 in effect at “The Chase.” Basically that means that no Writers Guild member is permitted to write on the program. Any writer who does so would be considered crossing the picket line: a “scab.”
The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news.