Phyllis Nagy Responds To David Young’s Scribes’ Petition Reply, Suggests Membership Vote On WGA’s Course Of Action – 2nd Update

In both cases it is very difficult to give an exact answer. I’ve never seen the term “endgame” used in the fashion of the last few months; at times it seems to mean a bottom line negotiation position, at others a question about exactly how or when the struggle will end.
Writers Guild of America, West” />
Thanks again for writing.
It does not provide a mandate for addressing conflicts of interest in whatever way you see fit. You were as dismissive and condescending to us then as you are in your response to us today. Had those points been enumerated in the vote authorization put to us, I sincerely doubt you’d have the 95.3% membership assent you feel necessary to remind us of— but since you do, let’s take a look at that number. Meetings at which you heard hundreds of writers objecting to these talking points, expressing their concerns and worries. Nothing in an assent to that question suggests anything other than a desire on the part of the membership to have and maintain an agency code of conduct, and that we expected a negotiation to occur. It does not suggest that we in any way authorized the filing of lawsuits or the wholesale firing of our agency representatives. These, among other things, were talking points at numerous house meetings leading up to the vote.
Dear WGA Officers, Board and Negotiating Committee:
Hi Phyllis-
You intend to eliminate packaging fees; David Goodman’s last video message took revenue sharing off the table. 1.
Thank you for your response.
Nagy has now penned a response to Young, which Deadline has obtained a copy of. Goodman that the guild is rejecting ATA's latest offer, taking the packaging fee revenue sharing option off the table, and will be pursuing negotiations with individual agencies. It addresses both Young's answers as well as the video announcement yesterday by WGA West president David A.
https://www.wga.org/uploadedfiles/members/member_info/agency_agreement/wga_verve_code_of_conduct_franchise_agreement_5-16-19.pdf
In April, membership voted on one question put to us simply:
Tiffany Romigh
"Deny our assertions about breach of trust if you will, but the above suggests that it is also a breach of your duty to not “maintain” terms and conditions that make it possible for us to continue working with our agents," Nagy wrote before suggesting that Young put "the current course of leadership action to another membership-wide vote." 
I wonder when and if leadership will consider it necessary to formally gauge the current feelings of working membership about this action. I wonder if leadership considered these numbers and what they mean before asking for a vote.
Quinton Peeples
Phyllis Nagy
Though I am CCing the signatories to our original letter, I want to make it clear that I am writing to you representing my own views here, some or all of which may be shared by various signatories.
Brandon Camp
We'd appreciate your direct answers,
Ken Nolan
https://www.wga.org/members/membership-information/agency-agreement/wga-membership-meeting-david-goodman-remarks
Phyllis Nagy's response to Young's reply:
Establish and maintain uniform terms and conditions under which Guild members may be represented by agents in connection with their writing services and their literary material; h.
3. Will you ask any current board or negotiating committee member who is actively in talks with a Big 4 affiliate production company — either directly or through an intermediary — to resign in order to avoid any appearance of conflict?
Deadline published the letter, followed by Young's response. Nagy wrote the original June 17 letter to Young, signed by 20 prominent film and TV writers, which asked questions pertaining to the guild leadership's strategy on packaging fees and agency affiliated production companies as well as its policy towards board or negotiating committee members who are working with such companies.
Eric Tipton
2ND UPDATE, June 21: Oscar-nominated Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy has responded to WGA West executive director David Young in what has become a meaningful discussion of the main issues stemming from the current standoff between the guild and the Association of Talent Agents.
In her follow-up letter, Nagy brought up another potential breach, quoting from the Executive Director job description: Establish and maintain uniform terms and conditions under which Guild members may be represented by agents in connection with their writing services and their literary material;
As to your specific questions 1-3:
To summarize, your answers to our questions are:
Executive Director
Peter Landesman
(Nagy also questioned the accuracy of the 95.7% approval figure touted by the guild's leadership.) "It does not suggest that we in any way authorized the filing of lawsuits or the wholesale firing of our agency representatives. It does not provide a mandate for addressing conflicts of interest in whatever way you see fit," Nagy wrote, suggesting that had those talking points been put in the vote authorization, the results may have been different.
It’s impossible to know how many of our members work in any given year or have agents, as we are not privy to those numbers. But in 2017, the last year for which there are figures, a total of 6610 guild members actually worked.
DY
“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.”
As compared with negotiation of the MBA, I think the information has been as “cogently articulated”, if not more so, than during negotiations with the companies. For your information, here are the website links to the agency campaign documents that I’ve mentioned: As to what the struggle is about, the proposals, goals and actual Code of Conduct, plus actual contract language, have been available to membership on the Guild website and updated constantly since April of last year. Many times in MBA negotiations the membership knows very little about what is actually occurring in the room as we move toward deadline.
https://www.wga.org/employers/agencies/agency-regulations
17 June 2019
Finally, rather than lecture us on the nature of dissent, majority rule and democracy, why not test your theories and put the current course of leadership action to another membership-wide vote?
Below the post, you can read Nagy's entire letter, which ends with a quote by Leo Tolstoy, along with her original email and Young's response.
On the issue of breach of trust, I disagree completely with your assertion. Through member meetings and communications going back to spring of 2018, Guild elected leadership laid out its goals and proposals for the agency representation agreement. We did so again in 2019, both with membership and in our written proposals to the ATA. We have continued to make changes and adjustments to our proposals since February of this year in negotiations with the ATA as well as with individual agencies.
Rasheed Newson
2. I’m sure you will understand that, as I explained above, certain negotiation strategies and positions must remain confidential as long as possible. We have a proposal on the table regarding “affiliate production.” It reflects the overwhelming sentiment of member response on this issue. I cannot say more during a negotiation about where we’ll end up.
1. Revenue sharing as a concept will be addressed by the Guild this week. It remains our goal to eliminate conflicts of interest, e.g., packaging fees.
Dre Ryan
Lenore Zion
Jason Hall
In the original letter to Young, the writers called the lack of response from Guild leadership to ATA's proposals "a breach of the trust" of the membership, a qualification Young strongly disagreed with.
https://www.wga.org/members/membership-information/agency-agreement/speech-david–goodman-march-27-2019-membership-meeting
Read his full letter at the bottom of the post. UPDATE, June 20, 10:40 AM: WGA West Executive Director David Young has responded to a petition signed by 20 guild members that asks for transparency from leadership on the WGA's endgame in the impasse with the Association of Talent Agents and suggests that leaders with conflicted interests should step aside. "Anyone who reveals their bottom line position early in a negotiation has committed a grave strategic error," he wrote.
Nagy's original letter to Young, signed by 20 prominent WGA members:
3. I believe that elected leadership, thus far and moving forward, will continue to hold every writer to exactly the same standard, as laid out in the WR23 Rules linked here:
2. Is it your intention to refuse to reach an agreement with the ATA unless the Big 4 agrees to divest of affiliate production company ownership; or is it your aim to negotiate an ownership stake in profits for membership?
PREVIOUSLY, 7:40 AM: As the dispute between WGA and ATA heads into a third month with guild leadership rebuking the latest offer, a petition written to WGA leadership by 20 established scribes sent earlier this week — before the most recent proposal rejection — is making the rounds and Deadline found a copy. Here is the missive: Latter issue flared up when it was revealed that WGA negotiator Chris Keyser was shopping a series package produced by Endeavor Content. The petition requests transparency from leadership on the WGA's endgame and suggests that leaders with conflicted interests should step aside.
Anyone who reveals their bottom line position early in a negotiation has committed a grave strategic error.
In her letter, Nagy cited the broad, one-line question on the Code of Conduct ballot, Do you authorize the Board and Council to implement an Agency Code of Conduct, if and when it becomes advisable to do so, upon expiration of the current AMBA on April 6, 2019?
The Guild will have a response this week. The ATA did make a proposal on June 7th.
Often that is the toughest part. I think that the answer to the second question — can you tell me when this will be over — is that I cannot. Fixing a 43-year old agreement is not a simple matter. We hope writers will support the campaign until we can get that fair deal. As David Goodman told the membership in our March meetings, just before the 95% agency vote, “Like every union struggle, this one involves the exercise of collective power, and there is no way around the risk and the uncertainty.” Part of the uncertainty is not knowing exactly how long it will take to get a fair deal.
Deny our assertions about breach of trust if you will, but the above suggests that it is also a breach of your duty to not “maintain” terms and conditions that make it possible for us to continue working with our agents. That you are now shifting strategy to negotiate individually with the agencies does not suggest a way forward to provide “uniform terms and conditions” for our representation to continue, either.
In the current situation, nobody seems to demand such answers from the ATA, and sometimes it begins to feel as if agency talking points are being used only to question the Guild, although I know that is not your intention. To the extent my answers here regarding “endgame” are limited or conditional, I would suggest to you that the other party in any negotiation would express similar limitations and uncertainty.
David J. Young
It’s impossible to know how many full voting members of the WGA there are as we don’t have those numbers. We do know that a total of 8,374 members cast votes— slightly less than 56% of the membership. That is hardly the guild entire. By many estimates, there are about 15,000 members.
3. We take it your answer is “no.”
Angela Workman
To date, there has been no response or counter to that proposal. On June 7, the ATA made its second proposal to the Negotiating Committee.
Young's reply to Nagy:
I will try to respond in the order of the points you’ve made below. Thank you for your message.
Given the confusion and concern that this is now generating amongst members, we ask you these simple questions:
John Glenn
1. You have stated that packaging fees are “illegal.” Is it your goal to eliminate packaging fees entirely; or is it your intention to negotiate a revenue sharing solution for membership?
“Do you authorize the Board and Council to implement an Agency Code of Conduct, if and when it becomes advisable to do so, upon expiration of the current AMBA on April 6, 2019?”
Phyllis
Phil Johnston
“Aligning agents' interests with the interests of writers” is no longer sufficient when membership is asked to “sacrifice” — especially in light of the growing unease regarding conflicts of interest involving board and negotiating committee members. When we strike, we know precisely what we strike for in cogently articulated points; we are presented with the endgame. In this case, a non-strike renegotiation of a contract with our own employees, we have been granted none of that.
Kyle Killen
I’d like to quote from the guild constitution, specifically from the job description of the Executive Director:
Craig Doyle
In fact the vote itself was on the very question of whether or not to undertake a collective action as writers if an acceptable solution was not negotiated by early April. What membership voted for, 95.3% strong, was a vividly clear statement that our goal was to address agency conflict of interest –among other goals – in ways specifically stated in all of those meetings and in our written proposals, available to membership before the vote.
We did not vote for a stand-off. Further, the lack of transparency with membership is disrespectful. As this action enters its third month, this lack of response from Guild leadership to the substance of the proposal is a breach of the trust membership placed in you to negotiate a new code of conduct with our agencies. Our trust and loyalty are not blind.
Sincerely,
― Leo Tolstoy
It is time to be clear and transparent with membership about your endgame for reaching an agreement with the ATA.
George Huang
Ayelet Waldman
Sascha Penn
Dear David,
Graham Moore
I do not recall such a response being formally solicited from membership in the months since this action began, however. You did not answer except to say you have a “proposal on the table” that reflects an “overwhelming” response from the membership on this issue. 2.
How an economic contest gets decided in the labor arena is through the process of conflict, struggle, negotiation and ultimate resolution. That does not make sense in a democracy, and to call us disrespectful for this seems, frankly, disrespectful of those in the majority and in leadership. The Guild is still in that process with the agencies, and we have tried to be transparent with membership throughout. I think you confuse your minority dissent – which is your absolute right – with the right to tell elected leadership and an overwhelming majority of membership to accept the process or outcome that you’d like to see.

AMC Networks Centralizes Executive Structure, Upping Sarah Barnett, David Madden And Linda Schupack; 40 Positions Eliminated

The restructuring will result in about 40 layoffs, or about 2% of the workforce at the entertainment networks, sources tell Deadline. AMC Networks did not comment on any job losses.
The company’s lifestyle network, WE tv, will continue to be managed by WE tv President and
Mac McKean, EVP, Innovation, who will continue to oversee AMC Premiere and expand his responsibility for digital, gaming and new products across AMC, BBC America, SundanceTV and IFC.
"We wanted to see the entire marketplace from one seat." "We wanted a structure that would make us as nimble as possible," Carroll said, eliminating duplicate pitches under the same roof.
They include: Other executive are getting new promotions and titles and will report to Barnett.
In the official press release announcing the changes, Caserta said the new structure "will enable us to better operate and leverage the strength of our entertainment networks as we continue to position the company to take advantage of new opportunities.”
She will now lead all marketing functions for AMC, BBC America, SundanceTV and IFC, reporting to Barnett. Linda Schupack, who is EVP of Marketing for AMC and SundanceTV, has been promoted to the new role of President of Marketing, Entertainment Networks.
On matters relating to AMC Studios programming, he will report to Carroll, as will other top execs at the studio. Madden, a two-decade veteran of the Fox broadcast network and studio, is currently president of programming for AMC, SundanceTV and AMC Studios. As head of network programming for the company’s four entertainment networks, Madden will report to Barnett. The reorg will give him responsibility for BBC America and IFC programming.
Tom Halleen, EVP, Programming Strategy, Acquisitions and Scheduling, AMC and SundanceTV, who is expand his purview to include BBC America, IFC and WE tv.
Asked about how the state of the zombies may have played into the reorganization, Carroll said, "It's always good to sharpen the programming lens." But he noted the meteoric ratings for the show since nearly its inception still leave it far ahead of nearly every competitor on TV, even in its ninth season. He also said breakthroughs in 2018 such as Killing Eve on BBC America have pointed the way forward for AMC. "We have a lot of great opportunities ahead of us," Barnett added.” />
The shift comes less than a month after the announcement that AMC vet Charlie Collier is heading to New Fox, replacing Gary Newman as entertainment chief of the slimmed-down entity.
"We will be retaining the same brand filters for all of our networks," she said. Barnett emphasized that the goal is not homogenization but rather operational efficiency.
But linear ratings across the landscape have been eroding as viewers take advantage of technology to seek other entertainment options. It still makes good money from carriage fees and advertising via the traditional pay-TV bundle from its network portfolio of AMC, IFC, Sundance, We TV and BBC America. As with other programming-centric media companies like Viacom and Discovery, AMC is trying to move quickly to diversify its revenue streams. AMC Networks reported solid third-quarter financial results last Thursday, beating Wall Street estimates and also announcing the completion of its acquisition of streaming specialist RLJ Entertainment.
Former IFC chief Jen Caserta, who was promoted last spring to Chief Transformation Officer, will continue in that newly created position. Blake Callaway, Executive Director, will continue to oversee IFC, and Jan Diedrichsen, Executive Director, who will continue to oversee SundanceTV and the Sundance Now streaming service. Some key execs will continue in their existing roles after the changes.
The handling of scripted programming is the primary focus of the changes, Carroll and Barnett said in an interview with Deadline, which is why WE tv is largely unaffected. General Manager Marc Juris, reporting to Carroll.
Marnie Black, EVP of Public Relations, who will continue to oversee all consumer PR functions for AMC, SundanceTV and Sundance Now, adding BBC America and IFC to her responsibilities.
AMC Networks has centralized its operations, promoting Sarah Barnett to president of entertainment networks and upping senior executives David Madden and Linda Schupack.
analyst Doug Creutz in a note to clients. Declining viewership for flagship franchise The Walking Dead has raised some alarms on Wall Street in terms of AMC's future. "With both advertising and affiliate dollars earned per viewer in line with peers, there is less low-hanging fruit for the company to harvest." One bright spot, Creutz noted, is that the company is considered a potential acquisition target. "The company has had a mixed track record of developing new hit programming and has not licensed a new hit franchise in nearly 10 years," wrote Cowen & Co.
Courtney Thomasma, who is being promoted to Executive Director, overseeing BBC America.
She will also lead AMC Premiere, the company’s subscription service offering ad-free versions of original series and other perks for fans. Barnett will continue to report to Ed Carroll, Chief Operating Officer of AMC Networks. Barnett, the current president and GM of BBC America who previously had that role at SundanceTV, will add oversight of AMC, SundanceTV and IFC.