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Writers Guilds Get Specific

The brothers of the pen--Writers Guild East and WGA West--have provided specifics to the agreement which has ended their bitter feud and will lead them back into negotiations on a new film-television contract.

The new agreement governs national votes of the two unions and issues involving their pact bargaining with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), ABC, CBS, and NBC. The pact was signed by Daniel Petrie, Jr., president of WGAW, and Albert Rubin, WGAE's v.p., earlier this month. The western board voted 16-2 in favor of the pact, and the eastern council approved it unanimously.

The agreement includes 12 major points, including a schedule for voting on national issues, and each guild providing the other with a list of eligible voting members.

One major point involves both guilds agreeing to "abide by the results of nationwide ratification If the result of a ratification vote is rejection of a proposed contract, neither guild will seek or entertain separate negotiations " Late last year, WGAW barely voted to approve a new contract with AMPTP, but WGAE's membership voted heavily against it, causing the pact to be defeated in a tight final count.

This led WGAW's board to decide to negotiate a contract on its own, and the WGAE filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, saying such a bargaining effort went against the two unions' constitution. The agreement also stipulates that complaints before the NLRB will be removed. Another major point of agreement is the formation of a 17-member committee to recommend, among other things, how contract negotiations should be conducted. But the agreement doesn't specify the make-up of that committee. One complaint of WGAE members was that the previous committee was heavily weighted with WGAW members

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