Sharing Information WGA Deal Requires to Play Role in Contract Talks – Deadline

The WGA’s historic victory in its epic legal battle to reshape the talent agency business is expected to bring “unprecedented” profits in upcoming film and TV contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers.

Limitations on packaging fees and agency ownership of production entities got most of the press coverage during the union’s two-year battle with major agencies, which ended two years ago this month when WME became the last of the major agencies to agree to union terms.

But the new franchise agreement’s requirement that agencies share information about hiring their writer clients could be more important in the union’s upcoming contract talks, which begin March 20. Under this agreement, agencies are now required to provide the syndicate with invoices, deal notes, contracts, compensation statements, and agent commissions.

The WGA has long had access to member contracts, but the new franchise agreement now provides the union with a slew of other employment data and compensation trends.

“The exchange of information is one of the three pillars of our agency’s campaign,” the union said in a summary of the gains it achieved with the agencies. Sharing information is essential to furthering the interests of writers, both as individuals and collectively.

“The information the agency provides will allow the union, in an unprecedented way, to identify and assess industry trends in writer hiring, which will aid the union in negotiating an MBA (minimum basic agreement) and provide writers and their representatives with important compensation information,” the union added.

The WGA negotiates minimum pay rates for writers, known as “the scale,” but agents negotiate widely for their clients, and that information is now in the hands of the union—a powerful new tool the union can use to show whether compensation is rising or falling.

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“The union is already using information provided by our agency partners to systematically pursue payment and interest collection of writers who are paid late or not paid at all,” says the WGA abstract, noting that the union’s legal department has “collected tens of thousands of dollars in interest on late payments.” using the information provided by the agency.”

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