Writers Guild Expands Outreach to Managers for Deals

With its bitter stalemate with agents in its fifth month, the Writers Guild of America is broadening its outreach to managers to make deals for members.

“The WGA is expanding its online services to include connecting management companies with WGA members who are looking for new representation,” said an email Tuesday to managers.

“A list of management companies that are accepting new writer-clients will be made available to WGA members through the Staffing and Development platform,” the message continued.

The email asked managers to answer a questionaire as to which managers at their firms are seeking clients and the specific areas of representation. The move is yet another indication of the WGA’s aggressive stance toward agents, which culminated on April 12 when guild leaders told members to fire their agents had the agents not signed a franchise agreement banning agents from taking packaging fees and engaging in affiliate production.

California law states that only licensed talent agents are allowed to procure employment. But the guild asserted in March that it had the right to delegate its exclusive bargaining authority to allow managers and lawyers to make such deals.

On April 18, the Association of Talent Agents alleged that such conduct was illegal. The WGA responded by calling the ATA’s assertion “propaganda.”

The WGA has sued CAA, WME and UTA over the legality of packaging fees and has been counter-sued by the agencies over alleged antitrust violations.

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