Writers Strike Contract Is Official!
Image: Howard Wise/JPI
Updated on February 27, 2008:
Although we reported back on February 12, 2008 that the writer’s strike had been suspended in hopes of finally reaching a new contract, we are now happy to report it is official! On February 26, 2008, 93.6% of the 4,060 votes cast in Los Angeles and New York by the WGA, West and the WGA, East gave their final ‘okay’ to the new contract, which dates from February 13, 2008 to May 1, 2011. Not only was the WGA granted new rights for their writers, which in turn will protect their work both online and in the media, the contract also established WGA jurisdiction over writing for new media, gave writers ‘separated rights’, in other words contractual rights traditionally beneficial to writers of original television and motion picture scripts, created remaining payments for new media reuse of covered material such as Internet downloads and ad-supported streaming of feature films and television programs, set up a “distributor’s gross” as the foundation for calculating new media residual payments, and has created meaningful access for the WGA to gain insight into the development of new media markets. Soaps.com wants to congratulate all the writers! We look forward to this new chapter in your profession!
Previously Reported on February 12, 2008
On Tuesday, members of the Writers Guilds East and West voted by a 92.5% margin to lift the restraining order that was invoked on November 5th. Guess what this means? The strike is over!
Writing can resume immediately for those who were employed when the strike began, they’re reporting back to work Wednesday morning! For those who were asked not to report to work, they’re to notify their employer in writing of their availability to do so.
Soaps.com is told by Michael Winship, President of WGA East says, “The decision to begin this strike was not taken lightly and was only made after no other reasonable alternative was possible. We are profoundly aware of the economic loss these fourteen weeks have created not only for our members but so many other colleagues who work in the television and motion picture industries. Nonetheless, with the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross revenue (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.” He continues on to say, “We hope to build upon the extraordinary energy, ingenuity, and solidarity that were generated by your hard work during the strike.”
Now that the strike has ended, they need to ratify a new contract by February 25th, 2008, at times and locations to be determined.
Updated February 11, 2008:
It has come to our attention that the Negotiating Committee of the WGA East and West are now recommending the terms of their proposed 2008 MBA to the Guild East Council and the Guild West Board. What happens next? Members will now each place their votes on whether or not they want to continue the strike through this ratification process or to end it immediately. Although the votes will take place on February 12, 2008, the WGA wants everyone to be aware they are still on strike – even though they have suspended any picketing for the time being. We will keep you posted with the latest developments!
Previously Updated on February 8, 2008:
Although there are reports all over the net claiming that the Writer’s Strike is over, Soaps.com has just received confirmation from a WGA East Rep stating… “No, it is not over.” It has been said that the WGA and the AMPTP have made some progress throughout their recent bargainings. However, negotiations are still continuing with no firm deals reached. As always, Soaps.com will keep you posted with all the latest breaking news surrounding the strike!
Previously Updated on January 30, 2008:
A WGA East Rep has just informed Soaps.com that their next big picket will take place this Friday, February 1, 2008 outside the One Life to Live studios on West 66 Street from 11AM to 2 PM, and also stated, “Last time we picketed there, many daytime writers were on the picket line and many of the actors stopped by to join the picket.” So if you’re in or around that area, be sure to stop by and show your support along with those attending! Hey, you never know who you’ll run into!
Previously Updated on January 15, 2008:
On Wednesday, January 16, 2008, the WGA East is making plans to continue picketing heavily for an additional cause. Picketers will congregate outside of the One Life to Live studios then provide 200,000 pencils to area public schools, which will be donated by TV fans everywhere. Not only is this a way to help the community, but it keeps the reality of the strike – and its purpose – in the public eye. If you want to join in this cause, WGA members will meet at the studio on 56 West 66th St, between Columbus and CPW from 11 AM – 2 PM. At 3:00 PM, the crews will make their way to the United Federation of Teachers at 52 Broadway with the 200,000 pencils in tow! Prior to this, members will do their normal picketing outside of the
All My Children studios at West 66th Street, West of West End Avenue from 8:30 AM-10:30 AM.
In other strike news, Days of Our Lives has aired its last ‘written before the strike’ episode this past January 10, 2008. What does this mean for the show? No worries, it will continue to air since scabs writers quickly took over the reigns on the 11th. Is there an end to the strike in the near future? Soaps.com will keep you posted with the latest developments!
Previously Updated January 8, 2007:
With the Writer’s Strike going into its second month not only is the entertainment business hanging in the balance, but some of the most anticipated awards shows are at risk as well. It has just been announced that Sunday’s January 13, 2008 scheduled Golden Globe Awards will air unlike any other year. What was once a celebrated event filled with the accomplishments of many of our beloved television and film actors will now only air for one hour, from 9:00PM to 10PM Eastern Time, as a press conference of sorts. What does this news mean for all upcoming events, including the 35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards? Although we can’t be sure, but hope there’s some signs of resolve by June 2008, Soaps.com promises to keep you posted with the latest strike affected news as it’s released!
Previously Updated January 2, 2008:
With January here, many fans are remembering what the networks told Soaps.com back in November, stating that they had material taped through January 2008. Although we don’t know the details, an ABC soap writer has commented to the press that most likely the soaps will go on due to their use of scab writers – ones they are protecting from public knowledge. In fact, this same writer has been ‘recruited’, if you will, themselves to write for another network. This type of secretive action may not always be admitted, but it is said to be going on – and apparently so will ‘some’, and hopefully all, of our soaps. While this may sound like good news for some, many of those picketing each day have claimed that using these ‘private writers in secret’ will only prolong the strike itself. On the other hand, writers who were once picketing to show their support have been forced to rejoin their prospective shows, as members of their writing teams, for whatever reasons they may have –some for fear of completely being out of a job once the strike ends. As always, Soaps.com will keep you posted with the latest strike news as it develops!
Previously Updated on December 19, 2007:
Not only is the Writer’s Strike impacting numerous current shows, it has now spilled over into some upcoming award ceremonies! Although The Golden Globes are scheduled to air on January 13, 2008, along with the Academy Awards on February 24, 2008, the Writers Guild of America is forbidding their writers from taking any creative part in the event! Golden Globe nominees have commented that they may not even attend the event due to the strike! Needless to say, this decision could very well affect 2008’s Oscars as well. Neither parties are pleased with this latest news… As always, Soaps.com will keep you posted should we hear more!
Previously Updated December 10, 2007
Days of Our Lives actor James Reynolds (Abe Carver) told Soaps.com Journalist Lori Wilson that they still have several weeks worth of scripts left, and while he doesn’t know exactly what will happen once they run out of those, “The show will continue. That I’ve been told.” Although we’re all hoping everyone involved gets what’s due to them soon, we want to thank James for giving us a glimmer of hope!
Previously Updated November 30, 2007:
Though members of the WGA and the AMPTP are in their fourth day of negotiations, as of yet, no deal has been made. Due to the amount of rumors circulating the nation, the press blackout has been lifted as a way to put these rumors to rest. The biggest rumor being that the AMPTP had such a great proposal for the WGA that some called it a sure thing with the assumption that the WGA would immediate accept! However, during the first three days of negotiations, the same proposals that led to the strike were again put out on the table, which leaves the writers fighting on for their due. With determination, the writers plan to hit the picket lines hard again on Monday and rally together to stand their ground! Soaps.com will keep you posted with all the late-breaking details!
Previously Updated on November 16, 2007:
Although the strike is still ongoing, officials from both the WGA and the AMPTP have agreed to once again restart negotiations on November 26. No further details are available at this time.
Previously Updated on November 15, 2007:
In light of recent reports circulating the net stating that a CBS producer/writer for
The Young and the Restless has crossed the pickets lines, which goes against everything in the Writers Guild union, Soaps.com has learned that this is simply not true! Though the report was false, the Writers Guild of America West did inform that a ‘non-writing producer, with membership in the Writer’s Guild of America‘ has decided to cross the lines – but this person has nothing to do with Y&R or any of the show’s writers!
Previously Updated: November 5, 2007
Although negotiators met with a federal mediator on Sunday November 4, 2007 as a last attempt to avoid a strike, it doesn’t appear a resolution has been made. Therefore, picketing locations and schedules have been posted for all involved, which will result in picketing all the major studios in Los Angeles starting at 9:00am Pacific Time and NBC headquarters by Rockefeller Center in New York City.
Passions rep Caley Cronin tells Soaps.com, “Passions will be relatively unaffected by the writer’s strike as we already have scripts through February and we’ve already shot our scenes through the New Year.”
Days of Our Lives told Soaps.com that although they need to assess the strike as it goes, Days of Our Lives has material taped through January. If it’s a short strike, it won’t affect the show at all. If it goes on for a while, then the show will have to reassess their options. “We will assess the situation as we go however Days will continue to air without interruption. Make sure to stay tuned and keep watching!”
An ABC Representative tells Soaps.com, “ABC’s daytime dramas are written well into the new year, and we will continue to produce original programming with no repeats and without interruption.”
Soaps.com will keep you updated on the minute as this news story progresses.
Previously reported on November 2, 2007…
If you’ve not heard the buzz yet, you probably will – there’s a Hollywood writers strike looming and it could affect our beloved soaps! Soaps.com has learned that most of the soaps have about a month’s worth of scripts written ahead. If there’s a strike, once these scripts are produced and air, there will nothing left! UNLESS, the producers decide to do what they did twenty years ago during the last strike. Brace yourself…the producers could write their own scripts! If you think the existing General Hospital writers take us on a wild ride with our character development, what if someone brand new took over at the keyboard? Nikolas could end up a hobo or Liz’s entire pregnancy could have been a dream! What if Sonny dumped Kate or decided to go to med school? What if Spinelli went to work for IBM? You get the idea. Continuity is key in soaps and long-term planning on the part of the writers is part of the equation.
Here's the situation in a nutshell:
*The Writers Guild of America (WGA) contract expired at midnight on Wednesday, October 31 without inking a new deal with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
*A federal mediator assisted the talks - which included at least one round of revisions in hopes of avoiding strike.
*The main issue? Royalties. Specifically, newly evolving technologies and how writers are compensated for their material sold and viewed, i.e. DVD sales, streaming online video, and anything "downloadable". Think about this: let's say you download a movie from iTunes. The movie studio or TV network makes money, iTunes make money, but the writers who created the material don't. The writers want their fair share of ongoing profits.
*No new talks were scheduled for Thursday, November 1, but The Associated Press was told that WGA President Patric Verrone announced in a closed-door meeting that they (TV and screen writers) would go on strike for the first time in almost twenty years. The WGA planned a meeting for the 12,000 members on Thursday night at the LA Convention Center and have "left the door open" for last-minute talks. The strike could happen as early as Sunday.
*WGA board members are planning to meet today to approve the strike and set up logistics such as picket lines, etc. Strike captains are planning to meet on Saturday morning.
*According to the Associated Press, John Bowman, chief WGA negotiator said, "It's going to have to be a good deal, but we would much rather negotiate than go on strike."
*The AMPTP says that they will not limit their ability to experiment with opportunities with new technologies. Nick Counter, President, says that they are prepared to close the contract over the weekend, however.
*The last WGA strike lasted nearly five months.
The effects of a writers' strike would reach farther than you might immediately think. Aside from disrupting our "love in the afternoon", there would be no new Jay Leno, David Letterman, or Jon Stewart shows unless the hosts themselves penned their own material - which isn't likely. There would either be reruns or the shows could go "dark". Your new favorite shows on primetime? Soaps.com has learned that they have enough shows to last until "early next year". Movie studios have been stockpiling releases, so the strike would have to last a long time before we run out of reasons to go stand in the buttered popcorn line. Guess what the networks would likely fill their airtime with? Reality and news programs.
Julie Clark Robinson
GH Editor, Soaps.com