May 15, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Los Angeles, CA – Negotiations for the Writers Guild of America’s next contract haven’t begun yet, but the union told members May 10 that it wants a bigger cut of the six top media companies’ profits.
The big six—CBS, Comcast, Disney, Fox, Viacom, and Warner Bros.—made $49 billion last year, the Writers Guild of America West said in a letter to its 8,000 members. “Now contrast that with the economic picture facing the members of our guild, whose average incomes in both features and series TV have actually decreased over that same decade.” The WGA West, which will negotiate the contract jointly with the smaller WGA East, says Hollywood screenwriters’ total earnings fell by 5.4% last year, the fifth straight year they’ve declined, while TV writers’ earnings went up 2.3%. “A mere fraction of one percent of the companies’ profits—profits largely attributable to the content created by you and your fellow WGA members—would easily restore writer income to an appropriate level AND move our benefit plans (health and pension) to a more secure position,” the union said. Read more