WGA West Has Amassed $20M Strike Fund As Second Week Of Contract Talks Begins – Deadline

As the WGA begins its second week of bargaining for a new contract with the AMPTP today, the guild is prepared for a strike, if it comes to that, though that’s by no means a foregone conclusion. The WGA’s current film and TV contract expires May 1.

The WGA West’s most recent annual report shows that as of last March 31, it had amassed a strike fund of nearly $20 million, all of which has been set aside to provide loans or grants to members “adversely affected by a strike.” That’s more than double the $9.2 million it had set aside in a strike fund in advance of the 100-day strike of 2007-08, when more than $3 million in strike loans was distributed to members during and after the walkout.

The WGA West’s constitution provides that two-thirds of its members’ dues shall be used for the guild’s general purposes, and that 80% of the remaining one-third shall be deposited in the Strike Fund. As of March 31, 2022, that came to nearly $19.7 million, or more than $1 million more than the year before, and three times the roughly $6.5 million that was left in the strike fund in March 2009.

The WGA West’s most recent financial report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022, notes that 29 members still had not repaid $280,659 in strike loans incurred from the last strike. The loans are secured by written assignments of a portion of the members’ future residuals income. Over time, the amount of these outstanding loans has decreased dramatically – down from $841,151 in 2011.

The WGA East, meanwhile, has a Special Strike Fund Committee that recently submitted its recommendations about the nature and terms of the financial assistance that should be made available to eligible members who would be affected by a strike. WGA East financial reports filed with the Dept. of Labor show that it made more than $200,000 in strike loans to its members during and after the last strike.

In making strike loans, the WGA East’s constitution provides that its Special Strike Fund Committee “shall consider all factors relevant to the affected members including financial need, length of membership, length of employment, current earnings, earning history, (and the) anticipated length of strike.”

The WGA West’s constitution, meanwhile, provides that its Strike Fund Committee shall be established at least eight months prior to the expiration of an industry-wide collective bargaining agreement “to establish guidelines for disbursement of monies maintained in the strike fund” in the event of a strike.

The WGA’s current round of contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers began last Monday; broke for the weekend, and resumed today at the AMPTP’s offices in Sherman Oaks, Ca.

The WGA West has told its members that after the end of the first two weeks of bargaining, sometime around April 1, “we will be coming back to you with a report on the status of negotiations, and on what next steps we believe are necessary before our contract expiration date,” which could include a strike authorization vote.

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Source of data and images: deadline

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