WGA West sets first membership meeting to discuss upcoming contract negotiations

WGA West will hold its first membership meeting Saturday to discuss its upcoming negotiations with AMPTP for a new film and TV contract. Two more membership meetings are scheduled for later this month in Los Angeles and one in New York.

John August, a member of the WGA Negotiating Committee, spoke about that recently Scriptnote Podcast about upcoming meetings and what members should expect as the process unfolds. He also dismissed rumors of a threatened strike “because frankly, none of us know what will happen.”

“If you’re a WGA member, you should definitely go to a members’ meeting,” he said Scriptnote Produced by Meghana Rao. “At these members’ meetings you first hear from the negotiating committee about plans and priorities. It’s also where there are people with microphones, asking questions, giving them real-time feedback – applause and cheers and all of this happens live and in a room. It’s not fun like this Scriptnotes Live show, but it’s probably more important.”

Rao asked him about rumors of a strike when the guild’s contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers expires on May 1. “I feel like I’m hearing people talk about the May 1 strike going to happen, like it’s a foregone conclusion,” he said.

RELATED: Lindsey Dougherty, head of Teamsters Local 399 in Hollywood, urges members to save in case of a strike by WGA, SAG-AFTRA or DGA

“It’s kind of boring, honestly,” August replied. “The Guild did not offer him any; We don’t know anything about what companies are going to propose – so a lot can happen, and it’s still too early. That said, studios and networks are certainly trying to prepare for it if it does happen. You see their writers’ rooms open early – they’re trying to get scripts in by May 1. This is really normal in this schedule. And I understand why writers and other people in the industry are trying to build a little bit of a cushion if they can, because frankly, none of us know what’s going to happen.”

August, who has served on the past four negotiating committees, told his audience that “We have been meeting for the past few months, preparing. It all started with a membership survey last spring – that’s where we find out what topics writers are most concerned about. Are you looking for common themes; Staff do research to find out all the trends; About what authors are earning; What’s happening in the studio; What is happening to the remainder. So all that stuff has been happening behind the scenes. But these member meetings are the first opportunity to hear from us directly and hear from our authors.”

Urging members to come to the meeting and hear first-hand what is happening, he said: “What you see in trade and social media, there will be a lot of – not necessarily wrong information – but more like wrong or incomplete information . So, take them with a big grain of salt.”

He also noted that “once the talks really start – once we’re in the room with AMPTP – things will probably calm down a bit, and that’s not a bad sign – it means both sides have agreed to the king. Keep it quiet so we can really dig into things.” Can. The membership meeting – all the talk, talk, talk – happens before we go into the room.”

Speaking about the process, he noted that “at some point” the guild will announce its pattern of demands – common objectives – members will be asked to approve.

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