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WGA Moves To Renegotiate Packaging Agreement With Talent Agents

April 7, 2018 (00:47) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 

 

Image result for arguing animation

by David Robb
April 6, 2018 4:47pm

The WGA East and West have notified the Association of Talent Agents that they want to renegotiate their decades-old agreement covering packaging of TV series. “After months of member outreach, the WGA West board and WGA East council have voted unanimously to reopen the Guilds’ 42-year-old agency agreement,” the WGA West said in a email to its members.

To set a deadline for the talks, the guilds say they have sent the ATA a 12-month notice to terminate the existing deal – known as the Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement. “We also made proposals that address the concerns members have discussed with us.” The guilds held several membership meetings in recent months to gauge the members’ interest in renegotiating the agreement.

ATA executive director Karen Stuart said in a statement that she has received the guilds’ “Notice of Election to Terminate” the deal but added: “It’s unfortunate that the WGA has taken this step without ever having reached out to ATA to discuss any of the issues it raises in its proposals. That said, the ATA will do what it’s always done: constructively engage in a dialogue with the Guild to address any legitimate concerns.”

The terms and conditions of the current agreement will remain in effect through April 6, 2019, but the guilds seem determined to address concerns that packaging has gotten out of hand and poses more potential conflicts of interest than ever before.

Information packets handed out to guild members at the meetings say that 87% of the more than 300 series produced during the 2016-17 TV season were packaged by the agencies, and that “packaging is dominated by WME and CAA,” which accounted for 79% of all the packaged series, in which the agencies bring together many elements of the shows, including the writers, directors, cast and financing.

The AMBA has never prevented agencies from packaging or holding ownership stakes in productions that employ their clients. Rather, it doesn’t allow agents to take their 10% commissions on projects for which they are also receiving a packaging fee. Union leaders, however, believe that the big agencies are getting so fat off their packaging fees that representing writers is no longer their primary concern.

Packaging, however, isn’t the only problem the guild is having with the agencies – they say that the agencies – and WME and CAA in particular – are also involved in a “conflict of interest” with respect to producing content. “WME and CAA are becoming active in content production, financing and distribution,” with “projects set up at Netflix, Apple, Hulu, Amazon, and YouTube,” the WGA told its members.

“Agencies are fiduciaries” under California and New York law, and in most other states as well, the guild says, “with full obligation to their clients, including the obligation to avoid any conflict of interest or to make any deals that benefit the agent at the client’s expense.”

The role of a fiduciary, the guild told its members, is “to represent the interest of a client, with a moral commitment to put the client first. A fiduciary is expected to refrain from acting for his private advantage or otherwise contrary to the interests of his client; the fiduciary should fully, without compromise, assert the complete and unmitigated interest of the client.”

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A moral commitment.  Talk about driving a hard bargain!

 

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

Headline Photo selected by Watchdog

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Union Names More Companies Involved in Advertising Industry Investigation

April 6, 2018 (23:06) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 

 

Related image

The following two announcements from the SAG/AFTRA Website:

Union Names More Companies Involved in Advertising Industry Investigation

April 06, 2018, 10:04am
SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into ad industry companies believed to have falsely represented themselves as real employers. We can confirm Talent Direct, Executive Media Services (EMS) and CMC/Forecast are part of the investigation.
==
Union Names Companies Involved in Advertising Industry Investigation

April 05, 2018, 12:04pm
Filed in:
Contracts
SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into ad industry companies believed to have falsely represented themselves as real employers. We can confirm Waving Cat and Talent Solutions are part of the investigation.
Contract News:
Commercials

Perhaps the latest post could have incorporated the first post!   Huh? But, but, but…

Arl
The Ol’ SAG Watchdog
*Headline Photo selected by Watchdog

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WGA Members Urge Board To Divest From Companies That Support NRA

April 4, 2018 (10:50) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 

Image result for pile of bullets photos

by Denise Petski
April 4, 2018 8:30 am

Ninety-five members of the Writers Guild of America have signed a letter sent to the guild’s board of directors urging that it divest from gun companies and any companies that support the NRA..

The letter, sent to the Board Tuesday, warns “Gun violence enabled by the ready availability of military grade weapons, has become one of the biggest threats to the safety and security of the American people.” The letter continues, “We urge the WGA and the WGA Pension Plan to divest of all stocks of any gun or ammunition manufacturer, and any company that provides material support to the gun industry lobbying organization called The National Rifle Association, whether through donations, deductions or other means (e.g. Federal Express), until such time as sensible national gun reform legislation is passed.”

It is signed by 95 members of both WGA West and WGA East.

You can read the letter in full below:

April 3, 2018

To WGA Board of Directors:

Gun violence, enabled by the ready availability of military grade weapons, has become one of the biggest threats to the safety and security of the American people. We urge the WGA and the WGA Pension Plan to divest of all stocks of any gun or ammunition manufacturer, and any company that provides material support to the gun industry lobbying organization called The National Rifle Association, whether through donations, deductions or other means (e.g. Federal Express), until such time as sensible national gun reform legislation is passed.

Sincerely,

Douglas J. Eboch
Megan Abbott
Nick Antosca
Valerie Alexander
Nick Antosca
Simran Baidwan
Jack Bernstein
Joy Blake
Ken Blankstein
Matteo Borghese
Justin Boyd
I. J. Boyd
Steven Brandon
William H. Brown
Frank Cardea
Hank Chilton
Steve Chivers
Brendan Clifford
Alan R. Cohen
Colin Costello
Cindy Davis
Timothy Dowling
Matthew Federman
J. Michael Feldman
Joshua Fialkov
Graham Flashner
Jeff Forsyth
Kate Gersten
Lee Goldberg
Sarah Goldfinger
Clifford J. Green
David Hoselton
Sam Humphrey
Sandi Johnson
Richard Kahan
Aubrey Karr
Joy Kecken
Matt Kirsch*
Curtis Kheel
Marshall A. Knight
Lisa Kors
Ken Kristensen
P. Carter Kristensen
Dennis Lehane
Ken Levine
Matthew Lieberman
Stephanie Liss
Christopher Lovick
Chris Luccy
Marcos Luevanos
Corinne Marrinan
Shauna McGarry
Mike Metz
Nicole Mirante
Michael Mohan
Jose Molina
Doug Molitor
Laura Moran
Karen Bloch Morse
Patrick Moss
Aisha Muharrar
Ron Osborn
Hollie Overton
Sophie Owens-Bender
Will Pascoe
Harley Peyton
Jesse Peyronel
Jeff Poliquin
Ivan Raimi*
John Rogers
Jenni Ross
Kristen SaBerre
Mehar Sethi
John Sherman
Matthew Shire
Spiro Skentzos
Kat Smith
Jared Stern
Adam Stein
Karen Stillman
Karen Struck
Tatiana Suarez-Pico
Phoef Sutton
Beth Szymkowski
Carol Tenney
Arthur Tiersky
Danny Tolli
Rob Turbovsky
Hayley Tyler
Noelle Valdivia
Flint Wainess
David Weddle
Matthew White
John Whittington
Rob Wright
Moises Zamora

*WGA East

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Hmmm…you think this means we’ll see less gun violence in scripts?  Bullet, bullet, bullet….

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Headline photo selected by Watchdog

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Anita Hill Commission Asks Hollywood For Millions To Fund Its Work Against Sexual Harassment

April 3, 2018 (18:49) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 

Image result for Anita Hill-Commission photos

by David Robb
April 3, 2018 4:58p

The Anita Hill-led Commission on Eliminating Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace is asking Hollywood to pony up millions of dollars to fund its mission over the next five years. All the major networks, studios, talent agencies and guilds are being asked to contribute to cover the cost of its work.

“Everybody’s being asked to pitch in,” a source on the commission told Deadline. “Each organization is being asked to make a financial contribution, at different levels. There are a lot of start-up costs. They have circulated a budget, and they’re trying to fund the budget.”

The source wouldn’t give specifics on the budget, other than to say it’s “over $1 million a year, but less than $5 million.”

The WGA West, for instance, recently was asked to contribute $500,000 in equal installments of $100,000 over each of the next five years. At a recent board meeting, the guild approved the first payment and will re-evaluate its financial commitment to the program after one year.

The DGA also is known to have contributed “a sizable amount” for the effort.
Related
Peter Bart: How Will Sexual Harassment Commission Impact Hollywood’s Alpha Male Culture?

The commission has a deep pool of other organizations to hit up for funding, and it has reached out to all of the commissioners who attended its founding meeting in December, including:

Film Academy CEO Dawn Hudson
AMPTP president Carol Lombardini
TV Academy president and CEO Maury McIntyre
Association of Talent Agents executive director Karen Stuart
Recording Academy president Neil Portnow
Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger
Paramount chair and CEO Jim Gianopulos
CBS chair and CEO Leslie Moonves
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos
Warner Bros. chair and CEO Kevin Tsujihara
Sony chair and CEO Tony Vinciquerra
Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chair Jeff Shell
Amazon svp of business development Jeff Blackburn
CAA co-chair Bryan Lourd
WME co-chair Ari Emanuel
UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer
ICM Partners founding partner Chris Silbermann
SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris
DGA national executive director Russ Hollander
WGA West executive director David Young
PGA associate national executive director/COO Susan Sprung
WGA West executive director David Young
IATSE vp Mike Miller
Atlantic Records chair and COO Julie Greenwald
Universal Music Group chair and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge

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When this lady ask them to Pony up, you can bet she ain’t horsing around!

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Headine photo selected by Watchdog

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SAG-AFTRA Investigating Ad Companies That May Be Scamming Members

April 3, 2018 (16:58) | 2016 | By: Arlin Miller

 

Image result for Scamming animation

By Dave McNary
@Variety_DMcNary

SAG-AFTRA is investigating several companies that may have been scamming members by falsely representing themselves as real employers in the advertising industry.

The union, which represents about 160,000 performers, posted a message Tuesday on its official web site: “In an effort to protect our members from abuse and harm in the advertising industry, SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into several companies we believe have falsely represented themselves as real employers.”

SAG-AFTRA later sent a message to members saying that the missive was based on “clear information” from members and their reps. It did not cite specific instances.

It also said, “the union is increasingly concerned that performers’ earnings, safety, and rights are at serious risk when hired by companies that are not, in fact, real employers. This includes: payment delayed or never received, uncontrolled product conflicts, theft or unauthorized use of performances, and other abuses tied to compensation.”

SAG-AFTRA members generate more than $1 billion in annual earnings under the union’s contract with the ad industry. But large portions of the industry produce commercials that are non-union. SAG-AFTRA members who perform non-union work can be subject to union discipline.

Here’s the entire letter from SAG-AFTRA:

Dear Member,

Earlier today, we posted the following message on our website:

In an effort to protect our members from abuse and harm in the advertising industry, SAG-AFTRA has launched an investigation into several companies we believe have falsely represented themselves as real employers.

Based on clear information from members, their professional representatives and other stakeholders in the industry, the union is increasingly concerned that performers’ earnings, safety and rights are at serious risk when hired by companies that are not, in fact, real employers. This includes: payment delayed or never received, uncontrolled product conflicts, theft or unauthorized use of performances, and other abuses tied to compensation.

In addition, in an era when the union is expanding its protection against harassment and discrimination, it is particularly critical that we are able to hold these companies legally and financially responsible for their conduct.

As the advertising industry rapidly changes, the only way to ensure that SAG-AFTRA has the power to protect performers is if the real company that employs them signs their contracts.

We will continue to keep you informed about this ongoing investigation.

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Nice to have one of our top Trade publication  reporters on this.    Others I’m sure will apply their skills to this story and the membership will be well informed.

Arl

The Ol’ SAG Watchdog

*Headline photo selected by Watchdog

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