The Writers Guild of America and the Abrams Artists Agency were unable to reach a deal on Tuesday, despite chairman Adam Bold’s offer to eliminate packaging fees and the agency’s involvement with affiliate productions. The WGA has passed up the chance to end the impasse between Hollywood writers and agencies, turning down the offer. WGA West executive director David Young spoke with Adam Bold for 20 minutes, but they were unable to come to an agreement.
In a statement, Bold said: “Honestly, I’m disappointed, sad, and perplexed by this decision. I expected that we would have a common goal, which was to put people back to work in the interim while the litigation is going on, but instead it seems that the WGA has other priorities. I don’t have the desire nor the resources or energy to spend trying to engage in negotiations on the sort of agreement that a union makes with the trade association.”
Bold continued, “I’m not a labor negotiator. I’m not pretending to try and solve the bigger issue. Instead, I thought that I had a reasonable and fair workaround for our clients and staff to earn a living until they work out those bigger issues. We simply took the agreement that had been in place for 42 years and made an addendum removing the most contentious and egregious issues.”
With its proposal, Abrams broke ranks with other talent agencies affiliated with ATA by offering to end packaging. Abrams would have been one of the largest agencies to reach an agreement with the WGA. However, Abrams refused to sign the WGA’s code of conduct, objecting to policies about sharing information. Pantheon is the only talent agency that has signed the WGA’s code of conduct so far.
In a letter, WGA executive director David Young said that 73 other agencies have already signed the code of conduct. Young said, “Another thing I want you to know is that we’ve currently signed 73 agencies to the new agreement; there are 27 remaining AMBA signatories with whom we have not reached a new deal, including Abrams.”
He added, “Under the favored nations terms of our agreements with the 73, if I go backward and make a deal with you that has lesser terms than the deals we’ve made with the signed agencies, the WGA will have to give your deal to all 73! You can see that we’d never do that.”