Writers Guild Reveals Studio Negotiating Committee Amid Agency Fight

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The union’s master TV/theatrical agreement expires May 1, 2020.

The Writers Guild of America has disclosed the negotiating committee for its upcoming spring bargaining with the major studios, even as a fight with the town’s talent agencies continues to occupy guild leadership and members.

WGA West executive director David Young, who has been a key leader of the agency fight, will serve as chief negotiator in the studio talks over the WGA’s master TV/theatrical agreement. Appointed by the WGAW Board and WGAE Council to co-chair the negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are Michele Mulroney, Shawn Ryan and Betsy Thomas.

“Our current Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) expires on May 1, 2020,” said the guild in an email to members Friday. “In anticipation of the upcoming negotiations, Guild staff has prepared research, data and potential negotiating proposals for leadership and members to consider as we begin the process of setting priorities.”

The email added that the guild will send out a member survey next week to identify key issues. The negotiating committee will begin meeting this month, while member meetings will commence in early 2020 to give further opportunity for feedback.

In addition, a “pattern of demands” will be put to a vote prior to the start of spring negotiations. In that respect, the WGA’s process differs from those of the Directors Guild and SAG-AFTRA, which keep their initial demands confidential and do not put them to a member vote. Those two unions’ master agreements expire June 30. None of the unions have yet announced when talks will begin.

Observers have speculated on whether the guild’s effectiveness in bargaining will be hampered by its ongoing dispute with the major talent agencies, which has seen the guild locked in litigation with the agencies and over 7,000 writers fire their agents. The guild has insisted that the solidarity and resolve its members have shown in the agency fight sends a signal to the studios, too, that writers are newly energized and not to be trifled with.

The other appointed members of the WGA’s negotiating committee are Liz Alper, Arash Amel, John August, Amy Berg, Ashley Nicole Black, Adam Brooks, Francesca Butler, Patti Carr, Robb Chavis, Meg DeLoatch, Travis Donnelly, Kate Erickson, Dante W. Harper, Eric Heisserer, Melissa London Hilfers, Elliott Kalan, Chris Keyser, Adele Lim, Peter Murrieta, Luvh Rakhe, Dailyn Rodriguez, Erica Saleh, David Slack, Lauren Ashley Smith, Amy Sohn, Meredith Stiehm and Patric M. Verrone.

Ex-officio members are WGAW and WGAE officers David A. Goodman, Marjorie David, Beau Willimon, Kathy McGee and Bob Schneider.

For more on this subject, visit THR‘s labor page.