The Writers Guild of America has completed its pattern of demands for its upcoming contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios in labor talks.
The pattern of demands, which has been obtained by TheWrap and can be read below, has been sent to members WGA West and WGA East for an approval vote. Members must submit their vote by March 7, with talks between the guild’s negotiating committee and the AMPTP set to begin on March 20.
“The 2023 MBA negotiations takes place in the context of an expanding media industry that remains highly profitable, despite short-term declines in profitability affecting some companies,” read a memo to members signed by WGA West President Meredith Stiehm and WGA East President Michael Winship. “The broad goal of our negotiating committee will be to build on the gains achieved in past contracts, and to ensure that writers receive their fair share of the proceeds generated by the content they create.”
The pattern of demands has been divided into three sections and reads as follows:
Compensation and Residuals
– Increased minimum compensation significantly to address the devaluation of writing in all areas of television, new media and features
– Standardized compensation and residual terms for features whether released theatrically or on streaming
– Address the abuses of mini-rooms
– Ensure appropriate television series writing compensation throughout entire process of preproduction, production and postproduction
– Expand span protections to cover all television writers
– Apply MBA minimums to comedy variety programs made for new media
– Increased residuals for under compensated reuse markets
– Restrict uncompensated use of excerpts
Pension Plan and Health Fund
– Increase contributions to pension plan and health fund
Professional Standards and Protection in the Employment of Writers
– For feature contracts in which compensation falls below a specified threshold, require weekly payment of compensation and a minimum of two steps
– Strengthen regulation of options and exclusivity in television writer employment contracts
– Regulate use of material produced using artificial intelligence or similar technologies
– Enact measures to combat discrimination and harassment and to promote pay equity
– Revise and expand all arbitrator lists
Many of the demands listed are similar or identical to ones submitted during the previous round of contract talks in 2020. This is to be expected as several of the WGA’s demands, particularly regarding increased wages and residuals for streaming shows and films, were tabled during those talks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But other demands reflect more recent trends in entertainment, such as the regulation of material created by artificial intelligence. AI is expected to become a significant topic for Hollywood’s labor guilds to address in the coming decade, as AI programs are rapidly improving in their ability to replicate actors’ voices and likenesses while programs like ChatGPT have made headlines for their ability to write detailed text and even replicate the styles of certain writers.