Writers Guild of America
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is the joint efforts of two different American labor unions representing writers in film, television, radio, and online media:
- The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), headquartered in New York City and affiliated with the AFL–CIO
- The Writers Guild of America West (WGAW), headquartered in Los Angeles.
Although each organization operates independently, they perform some common activities, including negotiating contracts and launching strike actions in unison.
Background and founding
Both organizations of the Writers Guild of America were established by 1954 after the merging of groups from other writers labor unions. The Authors Guild (AG) was originally founded in 1912 as the Authors' League of America (ALA) to represent book and magazine authors, as well as dramatists. In 1921, the Dramatists Guild of America split off as a separate group to represent writers of stage and, later, radio drama. That same year, the Screen Writers Guild (SWG) was formed to represent film screenwriters, but operated primarily more as a social organization until 1933 when the group affiliated with the AG and took on a more active role in labor negotiations. With the emergence of the television industry by 1948, the SWG and a Television Writers Group within the AG began to represent TV writers. In recognition of the growing complexity of representing members in many different fields of entertainment writing, these unions reorganized in 1954: both the Authors Guild and the Dramatists Guild would continue to represent writers in print media, the SWG would fold, and those working in motion pictures, TV and radio would be represented by two new guilds headquartered on each coast, WGAE and WGAW.
Although the WGAE and WGAW each run independently, they jointly perform some regular activities, including the following:
- The Writers Guild of America Awards are presented annually by both guilds in recognition of excellence in film, television, and radio writing, including both fiction and non-fiction. The 1st Writers Guild of America Awards were held in 1949 to honor the best film writers of 1948. The annual awards show includes simultaneous presentations on each coast.
- The WGA screenwriting credit system is used to determine who receives credit for writing a film, television, theatrical, or other media work written under the WGA's jurisdiction. The guilds are the final arbiters on who and how writers are listed in the credits.
- The WGA script registration service is run by both guilds to establish the date of creation of literary property.
- Both guilds are members of the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds.
The WGAE and WGAW negotiate contracts in unison as well as launch strike actions simultaneously.
- The 1960 Writers Guild of America strike lasted for 22 weeks. The negotiated contract included the first residuals for theatrical films, and the improved pensions.
- The 1981 Writers Guild of America strike lasted for 13 weeks. The negotiated contract included establishing payment terms for "pay TV" cable programs.
- The 1985 Writers Guild of America strike lasted two weeks. At dispute was the formula for paying home video residuals.
- The 1988 Writers Guild of America strike lasted from March 7 to August 7, 1988. Among the disputes were residuals from syndicated reruns of hour-long shows.
- The 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike lasted from November 5, 2007, to February 12, 2008. Among the disputes were residuals from content made for new media and programs on DVD. The production of several television shows were affected by the strike.
- The 2023 Writers Guild of America strike began on May 2, 2023. Among the disputes are residuals from streaming media. Several productions are impacted by the strike.
- ^ "A Brief History". wgaeast.org. Archived from the original on February 28, 2017.
- ^ "WGAE official website history". Archived from the original on November 5, 2007.
- ^ "WGAw website historical timeline". Archived from the original on November 5, 2007.
- ^ "Wga awards". www.wga.org. Archived from the original on December 26, 2011.
- ^ Kilkenny, Katie (January 12, 2023). "Spike Lee to Receive WGA East Award for Career Achievement". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 7, 2023. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
- ^ Welkos, Robert (May 11, 1998). "Giving Credit Where It's Due". Los Angeles Times.
- ^ Fleming, Michael (April 4, 2008). "WGA, Clooney at odds over credit". Variety. Archived from the original on February 13, 2023.
- ^ Robb, David (December 20, 2022). "Historically, The WGA Is Overdue For A Strike, With Residuals Again A Key Issue Of Upcoming Talks". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on January 23, 2023. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
- ^ a b c d e "A History of WGA Contract Negotiations and Gains". Writers Guild of America West. Retrieved May 22, 2023.
- ^ Kilkenny, Katie (May 1, 2023). "Writers Guild Calls First Strike in 15 Years". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on May 2, 2023. Retrieved May 2, 2023.