If you’ve been following the ongoing saga between the Writers Guild of America and the Association of Talent Agents, you are likely not surprised to hear the two organizations failed to reach an agreement on the WGA’s new code of conduct, despite getting a six-day extension (after months of previous negotiations) to do so. On Friday night, ahead of the upcoming 12:01am expiration of the existing AMBA (Artists’ Manager Basic Agreement), the Guild gave its members the heads up that there is currently no settlement, meaning members cannot be represented by agents who have failed to agree to the new protocols. Very few agencies have signed off as of yet.
As of Friday, the two organizations are still at loggerheads over a number of issues, chiefly the matter of packaging fees and agencies having ownership stakes in production companies. (You can read a more in-depth explainer here.) As for what Guild members are now supposed to do, writers are asked to inform their agents that they cannot represent them without signing the WGA’s new code of conduct.
“In this situation there are two actions required of all members: first, do not allow a non-franchised agent to represent you with respect to any future WGA-covered work,” the Guild told its members. “Second, notify your agency in a written form letter that they cannot represent you until they sign the Code of Conduct.” You can read WGA President David A. Goodman’s response to the ATA’s most recent proposal here.
“The WGA leadership today declared a pathway for compromise doesn’t exist,” ATA executive director Karen Stuart said in a statement. “Agencies have been committed to reaching an agreement with the WGA but, despite our best efforts, today’s outcome was driven by the Guild’s predetermined course for chaos.”