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Writers Guild of America West leaders have ordered the union’s members to stop working with Constantin Film over a residuals and health and pension plan contributions dispute.
On Friday, Guild president Meredith Stiehm, vice president Michele Mulroney and secretary-treasurer Betsy Thomas wrote members of the writers’ union that “effective immediately WGA members are prohibited under Working Rule 8 from working for Constantin Film Development, Inc. (Constantin), which is not signatory to the 2020 MBA.” Working Rule 8 from the Guild’s Code of Working Rules deems that “No member shall accept employment with, nor option or sell literary material to, any person, firm or corporation who is not signatory to the applicable MBAs.”
According to union leadership, “The Guild has an ongoing serious dispute with Constantin because of its refusal to pay residuals for most foreign reuse. Constantin has also failed to pay pension and health contributions for some writers.” The union added that it was important the production and distribution company be stopped from “undercutting writers’ standards and conditions” and that the Guild was working hard to resolve the matter.
In a statement about the dispute, Constantin Film, the German producer of the Resident Evil movies, Paranormal Activity 3 and Monster Hunter, claimed that talks had been scheduled to begin on Monday for some time. “Constantin has paid, and the WGA Plan has accepted, all WGA fringe payments. Constantin and the WGA disagree over the interpretation of the MBA regarding the calculation of residuals,” the company said. “The arbitration of that dispute has been long scheduled and will begin on Monday, November 1. Constantin believes the parties should respect the arbitration process and abide by the results Constantin has always worked, and will continue to work, with the WGA and all its members in good faith.”
But late on Monday, hours after The Hollywood Reporter reached out to the union for comment, the WGA West said that an arbitration hearing with Constantin over “past MBA violations” began on Monday, but not talks about the current strike. Moreover, none are currently scheduled for a future date. “In order to sign the 2020 MBA and work again with writers, Constantin has to agree, among other things, to pay writers’ residuals and P&H properly on a going forward basis,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “There are no talks today over that negotiation dispute, and none currently scheduled.”
Constantin Film is currently working on an upcoming Resident Evil series for Netflix and has recently released the film Eiffel featuring French star Romain Duris as the iconic civil engineer Gustave Eiffel. The company has also been behind Netflix’s 2021 action thriller Blood Red Sky and the film Breaking News in Yuba County, also released earlier this year.
In September, Constantin announced that it had inked a multiyear movie licensing deal with Germany’s RTL Deutschland that includes exclusive free TV and streaming rights for Constantin’s English-language and German-language theatrical productions that begin shooting Jan. 1.
Scott Roxborough contributed to this report.
Nov. 1, 3:45 pm PST Updated to reflect that the Writers Guild has disputed its arbitration status with Constantin Film.
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