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The Writers Guild of America overwhelmingly approved a new talent agency “Code of Conduct” Sunday by a vote of 95.3 percent (7,882) to 4.7 percent (392), paving the way for the union’s leadership to order members to fire their agents en masse as early as April 7 if no deal is reached by then with the Association of Talent Agents. The turnout was over 50 percent, a high figure, and ratification above the ninety percent level is seen as a sign of strong support for leadership.
But the agencies are dug in as well, and a deal seems unlikely, with no new meetings currently planned between the WGA and the ATA. Seven previous bargaining sessions yielded little progress, and none on the key issues that divide the two sides, packaging fees and affiliate production.
“Now that the WGA is past its vote, we look forward to getting back into the room to work through an agreement that serves the best interest of writers, respects their individual choice, and prevents unnecessary disruption to our industry,” the ATA said Sunday in a statement. “We stand ready and waiting.”
The WGA had no comment beyond the election results. Whether there will indeed be a meeting this week is unknown, but what comes next may be chaotic as thousands of agentless writers look for work during staffing season.
The electronic balloting extended over five days and was open to the approximately 15,000 active members of the guild. Few agencies, and none of the large ones, are expected to sign the new code, in view of the practices it prohibits. That will make them off-limits to WGA members come April 7, as guild members are not allowed to sign with agencies that aren’t signed to an agreement with the WGA. The guild has said it will order its members to fire their agents en masse.
For more on this subject, visit THR‘s labor page.
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