UPDATE #2: That vote will take place Tuesday. Here are the official details:
Should the WGAW Board and WGAE Council immediately lift the restraining order, ending the strike, pending the ratification vote on the 2008 MBA? A yes vote means you are voting to end the strike immediately; a no vote means you are voting to continue the strike during the ratification process.
You can cast your ballot in person
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Vote at the Writers Guild Theater
For members that aren’t able to cast a ballot in person, proxy ballots are available. To vote by proxy, download this form and fax to (323) 421-9177.
If you would like to vote YES by proxy: if you wish, you may designate WGAW member Patric Verrone, who is willing to collect and vote proxies for any members who want to vote YES. Patric will vote your proxy at the meeting on Tuesday, February 12.
If you would like to vote NO proxy by proxy: we are looking for a WGAW member who is willing to vote proxies for any members who want to vote NO. If you are willing to serve in that capacity, please send an e-mail to Rebecca Kessinger agreeing to have your name posted on this website, and agreeing to attend the meeting on Tuesday, February 12 to cast NO votes for those who designate their proxies to you. Thanks in advance!
UPDATE: Variety has posted an update on the New York and Los Angeles WGA meetings that took place on Saturday about the new tentative agreement:
WGA members will have the chance to vote on whether to end the strike under an expedited 48-hour voting process, WGA leaders told members during Saturday’s night’s meeting to detail the contract deal just reached with the majors.
That means scribes technically will not be back to work on Monday, as had been widely expected in recent days. However, numerous members attending the meeting – which drew about 3,000 to the Shrine Auditorium — said many people will unofficially be prepping projects and scripts.
The WGA negotiating committee, the WGA West board of directors and the WGA East Council will meet Sunday to formally endorse the contract and set the launch of the 48-hour vote to lift the strike. The ruling bodies are also expected to approve official launching a member ratification vote that would take place over 10 days.
It’s official! First up, a letter from WGAE President Michael Winship and WGAW President Patric M. Verrone announcing the tentative deal to the WGA’s members:
To Our Fellow Members,
It is an agreement that protects a future in which the Internet becomes the primary means of both content creation and delivery. It creates formulas for revenue-based residuals in new media, provides access to deals and financial data to help us evaluate and enforce those formulas, and establishes the principle that, “When they get paid, we get paid.”
Specific terms of the agreement are described in the summary on our website and will be further discussed at our Saturday membership meetings on both coasts. At those meetings we will also discuss how we will proceed regarding ratification of this agreement and lifting the restraining order that ends the strike.
Less than six months ago, the AMPTP wanted to enact profit-based residuals, defer all Internet compensation in favor of a study, forever eliminate “distributor’s gross” valuations, and enforce 39 pages of rollbacks to compensation, pension and health benefits, reacquisition, and separated rights. Today, thanks to three months of physical resolve, determination, and perseverance, we have a contract that includes WGA jurisdiction and separated rights in new media, residuals for Internet reuse, enforcement and auditing tools, expansion of fair market value and distributor’s gross language, improvements to other traditional elements of the MBA, and no rollbacks.
Over these three difficult months, we shut down production of nearly all scripted content in TV and film and had a serious impact on the business of our employers in ways they did not expect and were hard pressed to deflect. Nevertheless, an ongoing struggle against seven, multinational media conglomerates, no matter how successful, is exhausting, taking an enormous personal toll on our members and countless others. As such, we believe that continuing to strike now will not bring sufficient gains to outweigh the potential risks and that the time has come to accept this contract and settle the strike.
Much has been achieved, and while this agreement is neither perfect nor perhaps all that we deserve for the countless hours of hard work and sacrifice, our strike has been a success. We activated, engaged, and involved the membership of our Guilds with a solidarity that has never before occurred. We developed a captains system and a communications structure that used the Internet to build bonds within our membership and beyond. We earned the backing of other unions and their members worldwide, the respect of elected leaders and politicians throughout the nation, and the overwhelming support of fans and the general public. Our thanks to all of them, and to the staffs at both Guilds who have worked so long and patiently to help us all.
There is much yet to be done and we intend to use all the techniques and relationships we’ve developed in this strike to make it happen. We must support our brothers and sisters in SAG who, as their contract expires in less than five months, will be facing many of the same challenges we have just endured. We must further pursue new relationships we have established in Washington and in state and local governments so that we can maintain leverage against the consolidated multinational conglomerates with whom we bargain. We must be vigilant in monitoring the deals that are made in new media so that in the years ahead we can enforce and expand our contract. We must fight to get decent working conditions and benefits for writers of reality TV, animation, and any other genre in which writers do not have a WGA contract.
Most important, however, is to continue to use the new collective power we have generated for our collective benefit. More than ever, now and beyond, we are all in this together.
Patric M. Verrone
And here is a summary of the tentative deal:
Term of Agreement
Writing for Made-for New Media
Pension and Health Insurance: MBA pension and health provisions apply to all covered writing for new media programs.
Credits: The Guild shall determine credits on all covered new media programs. Credits must appear on-screen (or on a link to the program) if anyone else receives such credit.
Television Reuse: If a covered new media program is reused in traditional media, the usual residuals for a television program apply with minor modifications.
Separated Rights: Creators of original new media material are protected as follows:
Internet Residuals: Initial compensation covers writing services and 13 weeks of availability in new media when the viewer does not pay, and 26 weeks of availability in new media when the viewer pays. After those periods, certain residuals are payable: (i) if a new media program derived from an MBA-covered program or an original new media program with a budget higher than $25,000 per minute is reused in new media, the new media reuse provisions described below apply, except that electronic sell-through is paid at 1.2% of distributors gross receipts; and (ii) for original new media programs, the residual for ad-supported streaming is negotiable, while reuse where the viewer pays is compensated at 1.2% of distributors gross receipts.
Other Guild Provisions: A number of standard guild provisions apply to all covered new media programs: Guild shop (writers must join the WGA), no-strike/no-lockout, grievance and arbitration, and timely payment.
Reuse in New Media
Theatrical Ad-Supported Streaming: Ad-supported streaming of feature films produced after July 1, 1971 is payable at 1.2% of distributors gross receipts.
Television Ad-Supported Streaming (Library): Ad-supported streaming of television programs produced after 1977 (and a small number produced prior to 1977) are payable at 2% of distributors gross receipts.
Television Ad-Supported Streaming (New Programs): Ad-supported streaming of television programs is payable at 2% of distributors gross receipts one year from the end of an initial streaming window.
Initial Streaming Window: There is an initial window of 17 days (24 days for episodes of the first season of a series, one-off television programs, and MOWs) with no residual. This window must include or occur contiguous to the initial television exhibition.
Residual Payment (Network Prime Time): In the first and second years of this contract, after the initial window, for network prime time television programs, a fixed residual of 3% of the residual base (applicable minimum) is paid for each of up to two 26-week periods. For an hour program, this fee is $654 per period in the first year of the contract; $677 per period in the second year. For a half-hour the figures are $360 and $373. In the third year of this contract, the 2% of distributors gross formula is applied immediately after the initial streaming window. The contract sets an imputed value for up to 26 weeks of such distributors gross at $40,000 for an hour program and $20,000 for a half hour program. So, for the third year the formula pays a residual of $800 for an hour program and $400 for a half hour program for each potential 26-week period in the year after the initial streaming window. If the Networks exclusivity expires prior to one year after the end of the initial window, the 2% of distributors gross receipts begins without the imputed value. In the case of a 26-week period being truncated by the end of the year after the end of the initial streaming window, the payment is prorated. Residual Payment (All Other Programs): After the initial streaming window, a fixed residual of 3% of the residual base (the applicable minimum) is paid for each of up to two 26-week periods in the first two years of this contract. In the third year of this contract, the payment rate rises to 3.5% of the residual base.
Fair Market Value: New media residuals based on transactions between related parties are subject to a test of reasonableness when compared to transactions between unrelated parties.
Access to Information: The companies agree to provide the Guild with access to new media deals and distribution statements, without redaction, and usage data during the term of the contract.
Clips: Clips are defined as excerpts of less than five minutes for episodic TV or ten minutes for features or long-form TV. A company can use a clip for a promotional purpose without payment. Where a clip is not promotional and the viewer does not pay, the fee for the clip in new media is paid at the rate of the lesser of $50 or the residual payable under the Reuse Sideletter for a clip under two minutes; the lesser of $150 or the residual payable the Reuse Sideletter for a clip between two and four minutes; and for a clip longer than four minutes, the residual payable under the Reuse Sideletter. Where the viewer pays, the fee for use of a clip is 1.2% of distributors gross receipts.
Promotion: A clip can be used without payment to promote theatrical, television or new media exhibition if the clip contains tune-in, rental or purchase information. No payment is due for non-commercial viral release of clips from a theatrical or television motion picture. Promotion does not include the use of clips if the primary purpose of the exhibition is to permit viewing of archived or aggregated clips on a new media site (e.g., dailyshow.com).
Pension and Health Fund Provisions
Pension Fund: The contribution rate remains at 6% for this contract.
Contribution Caps: For theatrical motion pictures and long-form television motion pictures, the ceiling on which Pension Plan contributions are based is increased to $225,000 ($450,000 for team of 3). For long-form television motion pictures, the ceiling on which Health Fund contributions are based is increased to $250,000 ($500,000 for a team of 3). A cap of $350,000 ($700,000 for a team of 3) is established as the ceiling on which Pension Plan and Health Fund contributions are based for daytime serial writers.
Other: The Guild and the Companies will jointly fund a study of new IRS regulations. We agreed how contributions will be paid when a writer is employed on a development deal under Article 14.E.2. and, under the same contract, is employed to perform Article 14.K. services on a series for which the writer receives additional money which is not creditable.
Television Recap Clips: The total length of clips that can be used to recap the story in a 60- minute or longer program is extended from 90 seconds to 3 minutes before requiring payment.
Tri-Guild Audit Fund: The companies renew the funding of the Tri-Guild Audit Fund.
Foreign Remakes: Alternative terms were agreed for foreign remakes of MBA-covered scripts.
Limited Syndication of Half-Hour Programs: A little-used sideletter specifying a discounted residual for half hour series in limited syndication was renewed.
Committee on Alternative Digital Broadcast Channels: The Guild agreed to participate in a committee to explore the use of alternative digital broadcast channels.