The Writers Guild of America is asking for an extensive “pattern of demands” list as they head into a possible strike authorization vote later this week.
Among the demands are increased compensations, stronger economic and workplace protections, and paid family leave for writers. The main cause for a possible strike is that “the average pay for writer-producers working in television declined 23 percent over the last two years alone,” according to a letter guild leaders sent WGA members in February, although they still do the same amount of work as before. The letter said the decline is “driven by the growth of short order series with 13 or fewer episodes…” and writers “often work just as many weeks on a short order series as they did on a traditional 22-episode series, but are paid fewer episodes.”
Another key issue in the upcoming talks is the guild’s health plan.
The guild, whose contract expires May 1, had been negotiating a new contract for film and TV writers with the 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.
The two sides reconvened at the negotiating table during the week beginning April 10, but the guild has already made contingency plans in the event that it can’t reach a deal with the producers’ alliance. Los Angeles member meetings are set for April 18 and 19, while a New York meeting will also take place on April 19. An online strike authorization vote will begin April 19 at 8:30 p.m. PT through April 24 at noon PT.
Below is the list of WGA demands as of February. The following demands were sent to WGA members for approval, which may have since been modified. (A press blackout has kept members of the media from learning where the list currently stands.)
- Increased minimum compensation in all areas.
- Increase residuals for undercompensated reuse markets.
- An expansion of the types of made-for new media programs subject to the contract’s minimums.
- Increased contributions to the guild’s Pension Plan.
- Strengthened economic and workplace protections for television and new media writers employed and compensated on per episode basis.
- Stronger regulations of options and exclusivity provisions in television and new media employment contracts.
- Inequities in compensation of writing teams employed under term deals for television and new media series.
- Paid family leave for writers employed under term deals for television and new media series.
- An amended definition of a professional writer to include writing for new media.
- Increased funding for the Showrunner Training Program and the Tri-Guild Audit Program.
- A modification and expansion of all arbitrator panels.
- Modified requirements for work lists and other information submitted by companies.
Representatives for the WGA and the AMPTP declined to comment.