Is the WGA Close to a Deal with UA?

Nikki Finke and the New York Post are reporting that the WGA is close to finalizing a deal with United Artists which would allow its members to work on projects for the studio. This would mark the first major movie studio to come to terms with the Guild.

The agreement with Tom Cruise's and Paula Wagner's UA, a division of MGM, is said to be similar to the on the WGA made with David Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants. That deal allowed striking writers to return to the two Letterman-owned late-night shows.

Both sources above said the deal will be announced Sunday. We at UH are following up, but as yet we have no confirmation. Let's all hope for the best but not get excited until we hear something official from both parties. It's been a week of wild rumors!


Captain Obvious said...

I likely wouldn't work with UA under any other scenario, but if this is true I will follow through with my pledge to offer them my wares at a discount.

Adigga said...

"Nikki Finke and the New York Post are reporting that the WGA is close to finalizing a deal with United Artists which would allow its members to work on projects for the studio. This would mark the first major movie studio to come to terms with the Guild."

c'mon UH. you're connected directly to the WGA (ie: the weblink from wga.org) so playing dumb about the certainty of this deal is a little weird. either it's happening and you announce it or it's not and you leave it alone. don't play the innocent and tell us that nikki told you so. i'm a rabid wga supporter and big fan of UH but you're risking credibility here by suggesting you're not hip to the inside scoop. if we start thinking your spinning us or managing our expectations, you become propoganda instead of trusted commentary. fair enough?

Ben said...

Doesn't the membership have to vote to authorize these deals for them to be legit?

ChuckT said...

Tom is an actor/performer (as is David Letterman). That is why they settled. They support your cause. The AMPTP doesn't. They will never come back to the table with Reality and animation on the table. Period. UA and WorldWide Pants both KNOW that the AMPTP will get a better deal so they are not losing anything by settling with the writers now. These are interim agreements (which is a really nice way of saying, "this deal sucks but we'll use it until the better one comes along in a few months so that we can have writers").

dp said...

I will make the same offer as Captain Obvious. Although I am a BTL DP I am way above scale. I love the fact that this may break apart the amptp. I empathize with Cruise/Wagner and their discontent with the majors like Paramount. Whatever they are using as fuel for this agreement, they are doing the right thing---continuing to make movies and respecting the artists. These are people with shared ideals that I want to work for. Thank god I am in a freelance business where I can ultimately decide who I work for.

hotline said...

God, bless scientology!

Anonymous said...

I hope this is true. Maybe you guys can peel the studios apart. If so, that will be quite something. I have been very critical of the WGA leadership for calling this strike at the time they did. But stories like this one, if it is true, make continuing the strike a good idea. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

BTL Guy said...

New York Post is also reporting that WGAe may get picketed by its own staff, who have been without a contract since October.

A contract was ratified, but never signed and the staffers' union alleges that WGA changed the numbers on the contract after it was ratified.

The Newspaper Guild, which reps the Staffers, has filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board.

Has a union on strike ever been picketed by another union because union #1 was management in a different dispute?

I can hear all the pro-union-no-matter-the-circumstances types now: "Yeah WGA!! Stick it to the Producers! But, by the way, Boo WGA, you suck! Pay your staff what they're worth!"

Geo Rule said...

It seems to me that the movie studios are the place to really peel the AMPTP apart. The TV execs are making saber-rattling noises about staying out into 2009 if necessary to break the WGA, fueled by re-runs, animation, sports, and reality. . . When the movie execs hear that they must think to themselves "The Hell you say!"

jimmy said...

It's true that the actual contract might be meaningless, but the fracturing of the AMPTP, no matter how symbolic, is not.

John Ridley, or even Jay Leno, going fi-core, doesn't damage the cause of the WGA nearly as much as significant AMPTP companies breaking ranks and accepting the contract offer the large companies won't even look at.

The big thing that could happen is if the moguls come down hard on MGM like Finke is reporting, they might just say screw you and also bolt. Now that would really be something.

Fingers crossed.

josh said...

It seems that writers can write but cannot read.


Both Letterman and Cruise (that is just using this deal as a PR move) and whomever will sign the INTERIM deal WILL NOT UPHOLD IT.

Got it?

The Amptp wants everybody to sign it and go back to work. Get more shows under their belt.

At the end, everybody has to stick to the deal they will make.

Like somebody wrote (but nobody read)

"this deal sucks but we'll use it until the better one comes along in a few months so that we can have writers"

B said...

I'm not the brightest bulb in the light fixture so could someone please explain this to me? Since UA (and I'm hearing Weinstein might be next) both release their product through MGM, how is this a win for us? Aren't we just allowing product into the MGM pipeline?

scribeguy said...

As an '88 strike survivor (and PLEASE don't confuse '88 with '85 when you post comments, people. Two VERY different strikes with different results.... Sorry, had to get that one out of my system)...Where was I? Oh, yeah, as an '88 survivor, I'm cautiously optimistic that this might be a small crack in the AMPTP dam.

I'm more encouraged by a comment from a prominent WGA elected official who came out to talk to us picketers in the rain at NBC yesterday, and mentioned that there might be SEVERAL significant deals in the works. I don't think UA really fills that discription, but I've been intrigued by the lack of comminques coming from our side during the holidays. So maybe someone other than elves have been busy cobbling together deals that will really start to snowball.

As small as they are, WWP and UA deals are good for the morale and good PR. Keep them coming Negotiating Committee!

Crestmere said...

I hope this happens.

It would be a great step for the writers.

Geo Rule said...

Variety reporting this as a done deal.

I'd like to think this is why WGA hasn't taken Dick Clark Productions up on their offer to sign the same deal Worldwide Pants signed. . .the Guilds negotiators have been busy with UA.

What Josh upstream seems to miss is these deals set precedent and give lie to the AMPTP's position that the WGA is a group of crazies with unreasonable demands. The signatories *do* have to live up to them until another deal is in place, which may or may not be significantly different. They certainly can't count on it, and if the deals offered them were thought by them to be unreasonable they certainly wouldn't have signed them even on an "interim" basis.

ushers said...

The worst part of this, for me, is that I'm not even a member of the WGA. All deals, or what you actually call gaining new membership, for new WGA members were called off as of October 17th of last year. I've got a WGA Registered Script that's pretty much no good, being registered, until you come out of your strike. While I do realize you strike for every writer nationally, and even worldwide, new writer's like myself would gladly take a pay cut to be in your working position that you are striking about. So, even though a WGA script is work for me to write on, separately right now b/c the production company wants WGA members and the script is registered to me; that script cannot, for the moment, offer a spot as a member in your guild. Funny that. 30 bucks wasted on registering it.