Statement from Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs
Billy Ray and Chip Johannessen
We are pleased to recommend ratification of the 2014 Minimum Basic Agreement now before you. We make this recommendation on behalf of the entire joint WGAW-WGAE negotiating committee, which on April 2 voted unanimously in favor of ratification.
These negotiations produced real gains for writers. A detailed summary of the tentative agreement follows. These are the highlights:
The Guild was able to achieve these gains without agreeing to the rollbacks, totaling $60 million over the life of the contract, that the AMPTP placed on the table at the outset of negotiations. We successfully resisted those rollbacks, which were wholly unwarranted in a time of unprecedented prosperity for the Companies. This does not, of course, mean that the deal contains no compromises. We agreed to a cap on pension and health contributions payable on TV pilots. We also agreed to a lower residual rate, based on a percentage of revenue, for certain older television series licensed to basic cable or to “secondary” digital channels.
While we are rightfully proud of this deal, there are areas of unfinished business that remain to be addressed in future negotiations. We have made a step toward parity for basic cable writers, but it is only a partial step: writers on half-hour series are excluded from the outsized increase, and even with the increase the one-hour rates still lag behind broadcast minimums. And while the residual for streaming video will go up during the term of the contract, the increase does not reflect the explosive revenue increases the Companies have seen from this market. Throughout the next three years, we will be in touch with all of you in order to set our future bargaining priorities.
We wish to thank our talented professional staff led by WGAW Executive Director and chief negotiator David Young. This agreement could not have been reached without their tireless efforts on behalf of all writers. We are lucky to have them.
Negotiating Committee Members
Billy Ray (Co-Chair)
Chip Johannessen (Co-Chair)
Alfredo Barrios, Jr.
John F. Bowman
David S. Goyer
This ballot must be cast no later than 9:00 p.m. PDT/12:00 a.m. EDT on TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2014.
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