WGA reaffirms support of SAG, claims AMPTP fraud

by Paul William Tenny

Patric Verrone (WGA-W) and Michael Winship (WGA-E) sent a letter out to membership Tuesday complaining that the AMPTP isn't meeting their new media obligations under the 2008 MBA while promising to do everything within their power to enforce it. That basically means they are going to kick and scream while the media ignores them and finally, I assume, they'll have to file a lawsuit for alleged breach of contract. Interestingly Verrone and Winship say what I've been saying since before contract negotiations between WGA and AMPTP even began last year -- pattern bargaining is imaginary and SAG should push for anything they think they can get.

And the WGA supports them all the way.
You can read the letter for yourself at the WGA-East website, but here are the highlights.

Whedon's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was produced under the new media clauses of the new contract. This was expected since Whedon is a high profile writer, big supporter of new media and the union, and Dr. Horrible was his wholly owned production. Joss isn't the only writer with the financial abilities out there creating all-original and wholly-owned content on the Internet such as this, although their numbers are small, this segment is sure to grow.

Seth MacFarlane's new animated show which I guess is supposed to get some distribution via Google is also being produced under the new media regs.

Newly covered programs
Chocolate News, Lewis Black's The Root of All Evil, The Bob Saget Roast at Comedy Central, Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?, and Match Game are now covered by the WGA. This is good news, if they can get Are You Smarter, then they can get American Idol. If they can get Idol, they can get reality.

New media payments
According to the letter, the congloms are falling behind already on new media payments and are claiming the new media regs only apply to media released after the strike ended.

I don't think the strike would have been nearly as successful as it was without the support of the actors guild. Verrone and Winship acknowledge their friendship with SAG and supports their efforts to improve upon the gains made by the WGA. "We didn't win everything in new media that we eventually will. SAG is well within its rights to improve on our gains. [..] Unions need to support each other when pattern bargaining is used as an excuse not to address a union's legitimate concerns. We stand behind SAG and its efforts to represent its members' interests, and we urge the AMPTP to return to the bargaining table."

Quite so.
in Labor


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