WGA and ATA Approach Deadline With ‘No Formal Talks’ Scheduled

The two sides have been engaged in tense negotiations.
The Writers Guild of America
The Writers Guild of America

As the Writers Guild of America’s agreement with the Association of Talent Agents approaches its expiration in less than 12 hours, Deadline reports that “no formal talks are scheduled” to reach a last-minute deal. That doesn’t preclude the two sides — which have been engaged in tense negotiations — from resuming their talks in a less formal setting, however. “We’re focused right now on meetings with individual agencies and will meet with the ATA when they make a meaningful reply to our last two offers,” WGA West executive director David Young said yesterday.

The WGA informed the ATA last year of its plan to renegotiate the Artists’ Managers Basic Agreement, a deal unchanged since 1976. A vast majority of WGA members voted last weekend to implement an Agency Code of Conduct when the AMBA expires — the final tally was 7,882 in favor and 392 opposed — which would allow writers to fire their agents if they do not agree to the new code of conduct.

ATA members have been told that there are “several ways” for them to find out if writers have fired their agents. “WGA members have the option to submit an online form to the guild, giving the guild permission to terminate a writer’s relationship with his or her agency,” the ATA said last night. “In this instance, the guild will most likely send a list of the writers who have agreed to sever ties to each agency. Some individual writers may also choose to terminate their agents directly.”

WGA members, meanwhile, have been told that they do not need to personally fire their agents. “You don’t need to communicate with your agency directly, unless you want to. This is a collective action by guild members. All you have to do is electronically sign a form terminating your representation agreement. The guild will deliver the terminations to the agency in a group. The guild has prepared a standard termination form which will be available on the website and activated if and when necessary and you will be able to eSign it.”

More will be known tomorrow, after the deadline has passed.

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