Strike Averted As WGA Ratifies A New Agreement
Leaders of the East and West Coast branches of the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) have approved a new minimum basic agreement (MBA) with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) and major networks. The deal covers the period of May 2, 2017, through May 1, 2020 and was ratified with a vote of over 99% of the union’s membership. Some key provisions of the deal are summarized below.
- An increase in most of the guild’s minimum compensation rates of 2% in the first year of the MBA, 2.5% in the second year, and 2.5% in the third year.
- An increase in the minimum rate for network prime time dramatic programs and High Budget Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) intended for exhibition on subscription new media of 1% each year of the MBA.
- The minimum rates for daytime serials will increase 1% each year of the MBA.
- The minimum rates for news programs will increase 1.5% the first year, and 2% the second and third year of the MBA.
- Residuals from streaming TV services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu will increase and those residuals in the domestic market will be triggered earlier.
- Writers for made-for-pay TV programs will enjoy residual increases of 10% in year one and 5% in year two of the MBA. All writers in this category will now receive fixed residuals.
- Employers of writers on short seasons will now pay additional compensation for episodes that require work in excess of 2.4 weeks per episode, with a few exceptions.
- Employers will contribute $65.85 million to WGA’s health plan.
- Employer contributions will rise to 10.5% in the first year of the MBA, to 11% in the second year, and to 11.5% in the third year.
- The additional contributions are projected to result in an additional $14 million in income the first year of the contract, $21 million in the second year, and $30 million in the third year.
- The guild will implement cost saving measures to raise an additional $7 million per year.
- The cost savings combined with the additional contributions give the WGA’s health plan $86.85 million to keep the plan solvent.
- Writers on term contracts in episodic TV will be entitled to up to eight weeks of unpaid parental leave.
Limits On Options and Exclusivity
- The MBA increases the minimum guaranteed salary for writers who are exclusive to their employer and held by exercise of the employer’s option.