Hundreds of members of the Writers Guild of America have expressed a commitment to fight for Guild coverage for future animation projects that they create, write, or produce. “We want to be treated equal to live action writers, not less than,” reads a public pledge shared Monday. More than 850 writers and showrunners — including Nick Kroll, Amy Poehler, J.J. Abrams, Chuck Lorre, Mike Schur, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, and Nicole Byer — have signed the statement.
“Whether writing for live action or animation, WGA members deserve a WGA deal,” the Animation Writers Organizing Committee told Guild members Monday, according to Deadline. “Unlike live action, however, Guild coverage for animation is not guaranteed by the Minimum Basic Agreement, so writers must demand it.” The committee, which is co-chaired by former Simpsons showrunner Mike Scully and former WGA West presidents David A. Goodman and Patric Verrone, was reportedly created by WGA West’s board of directors to help animation writers get Guild contracts for their projects or staff. While writers have successfully won coverage for animation work in the past, it has allegedly become more difficult over time.
The Animation Writers Organizing Committee claims that, increasingly, some studios and production companies are deciding that WGA coverage is a “non-starter,” which forces animation writers to work under a different union contract that is an “extreme rollback” in comparison. (According to Deadline, the other union in question is the Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839.) “A WGA contract ensures that writers receive residuals, higher compensation, and essential health and pension benefits including paid parental leave,” the August 8 pledge says. “We, along with our fellow writers, must have the protections and security that come with WGA coverage.”