WGA, AMPTP reach new three-year deal

While there is currently labor discord in the NFL and with public employees in Wisconsin, there is labor peace in one place where there was turmoil nearly four years ago – Hollywood.

The Writers Guild of America and The Association of Motion Picture of Television Producers – who represents the major Hollywood studios and the television networks – reached a tentative agreement on Sunday. The new three-year deal includes:

– 2 % increase in annual wage rates

– 20% increase in premium channel residuals

– A 1.5% increase in employer pension contributions (from 6% to 7.5%)

The new pact stands in contrast to the labor mess that occurred during the 2007-08 television season when the WGA went on strike for 100 days over new media and network television residuals, among other issues. The strike decreased the amount of original episodes for many series (effectively cutting their season short) and practically shut down Hollwood, costing the studios, strikers, other workers, and the Los Angeles area millions in lost revenue.

The strike also hurts the major broadcast networks as many viewers fled for the exits to cable and other viewing options as they were forced to air reruns and low-rent reality fare – mirroring a similar situation during the 1988 strike.

The new deal – which has  to be ratified by rank-and-file WGA members in order for it to take effect – falls in line with AMPTP’s recent labor deals involving other union guilds representing actors and directors.

So if these guilds and the Hollywood studios got deals done rather quickly and quietly – why can’t the NFL and its players union?