WGA Letter to Members About Worldwide Pants Deal

This was sent to WGA members today, explaining some of the reasoning behind the Worldwide Pants deal.

To Our Fellow Members,

We are writing to let you know that have reached a contract with David Letterman's Worldwide Pants production company that puts his show and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson back on the air with Guild writers. This agreement is a positive step forward in our effort to reach an industry-wide contract. While we know that these deals put only a small number of writers back to work, three strategic imperatives have led us to conclude that this deal, and similar potential deals, are beneficial to our overall negotiating efforts.

First, the AMPTP has not yet been a productive avenue for an agreement. As a result, we are seeking deals with individual signatories. The Worldwide Pants deal is the first. We hope it will encourage other companies, especially large employers, to seek and reach agreements with us. Companies who have a WGA deal and Guild writers will have a clear advantage. Companies that do not will increasingly find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. Indeed, such a disadvantage could cost competing networks tens of millions in refunds to advertisers.

Second, this is a full and binding agreement. Worldwide Pants is agreeing to the full MBA, including the new media proposals we have been unable to make progress on at the big bargaining table. This demonstrates the integrity and affordability of our proposals. There are no shortcuts in this deal. Worldwide Pants has accepted the very same proposals that the Guild was prepared to present to the media conglomerates when they walked out of negotiations on December 7.

Finally, while our preference is an industry-wide deal, we will take partial steps if those will lead to the complete deal. We regret that all of us cannot yet return to work. We especially regret that other late night writers cannot return to work along with the Worldwide Pants employees. But the conclusion of your leadership is that getting some writers back to work under the Guild’s proposed terms speeds up the return to work of all writers.

Side-by-side with this agreement, and any others that we reach, are our ongoing strike strategies. In the case of late-night shows, our strike pressure will be intense and essential in directing political and SAG-member guests to Letterman and Ferguson rather than to struck talk shows. At this time, picket lines at venues such as NBC (both Burbank and Rockefeller Center), The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and the Golden Globes are essential. Outreach to advertisers and investors will intensify in the days ahead and writers will continue to develop new media content itself to advance our position.

We must continue to push on all fronts to remind the conglomerates each and every day that we are committed to a fair deal for writers and the industry.

Michael Winship
PresidentWriters Guild of America, East

Patric M. Verrone
PresidentWriters Guild of America, West

1 comment:

James Ian Elliot said...

I applaud your efforts to obtain fair contracts for your writers. Even though the Letterman contract is a small step towards the final goal, it is a step forward in showing the 'big boys' that fairness can exist without breaking the studios' budgets.

Though I am not in a position to offer financial support to your cause, you have my moral support. I know that writers are the hard working backbone to the entertainment industry. It is time they were given fair and decent consideration for their efforts.

Many times writers go long periods between sales, struggling to pay the bills while working on their next, hopefully profitable, literary work.

It is sad to see such creative and talented people living in poverty between gigs. It is all the more so when you see the level of wealth that the producers live at while depriving those who are the foundation of their wealth.

I would like, in my lifetime, to see the end of the 'Struggling Artist' syndrome. I would love to see a world wherein the people who do the actual work that generates great wealth be able to receive their FAIR share of that wealth.

Kudos to the WGA for championing this great cause.

John Chalinder
aka James Ian Elliot, psued.
author of 'Wrong Number', published in the Greyhaven Anthology by DAW press, (c)opyright 1989, edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley