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Drama Awards 2019

WGA rejects latest offer from ATA

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has rejected the latest deal from the US Association of Talent Agencies (ATA), as the dispute between the two bodies continues.

Earlier this month, the ATA offered the WGA a five-year pact, including a proposal that would see WGA members receive around 2% of revenue from packaging – the process of bundling talent and bringing projects together for TV shows – double the 1% it initially offered.

But late on Wednesday, the WGA posted a video on its website in which David Goodman, president of the guild’s west coast branch, said the ATA’s offer to increase revenue sharing wouldn’t solve the overall issue.

“Revenue sharing does nothing to incentivise your agency to get you a penny more in salary,” said Goodman. “It does nothing to address the real problem.”

Instead, the WGA has decided to end talks with the ATA and seek individual talks with other agencies.

The dispute between the WGA and ATA began almost three months ago, after the former introduced a new code of conduct which sought to do away with agency packaging deals and agency-affiliated production companies.

More than 7,000 of the WGA’s members, including high-profile writers such as Shonda Rhimes, David Simon and Damon Lindelof, fired their agents earlier this year after members of the ATA, including the CAA, WME, UTA and ICM Partners, refused to sign up to the WGA’s revised code.

But earlier this week, a group of 20 writers sent a letter to the WGA in which they expressed dissatisfaction with the guild’s handling of the dispute, in particular due to a “lack of transparency” from the organisation.

“As this action enters its third month, this lack of response from guild leadership to the substance of the proposal is a breach of the trust membership placed in you to negotiate a new code of conduct with our agencies,” the letter said. “We did not vote for a stand-off. Further, the lack of transparency with membership is disrespectful. Our trust and loyalty are not blind.”

WGA West executive director David Young responded in a letter on Thursday: “Part of the uncertainty is not knowing exactly how long it will take to get a fair deal. Often that is the toughest part. We hope writers will support the campaign until we can get that fair deal.”

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Drama Awards 2019
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