Writers Guild Reveals Negotiating Committee for Pivotal 2023 Contract Talks

Writers Guild Reveals Negotiating Committee for Pivotal 2023 Contract Talks

The Writers Guild of America has named its negotiating committee for the pivotal 2023 round of contract talks covering film and television projects, the first to occur since COVID-19 disrupted the last round of talks two years ago.

With WGA West executive director David Young serving as chief negotiator, the 2023 negotiating committee overseeing the WGA’s Basic Agreement will be co-chaired by former WGA West presidents David Goodman and Chris Keyser. Prominent Guild members including John August, Kay Cannon, Mike Schur, David Shore and Davis Simon will serve on the negotiating committee, as well as WGA West leaders Meredith Stiehm, Michele Mulroney and Betsy Thomas and WGA East leaders Michael Winship, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen and Christopher Kyle.

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Other members of the committee include WGA West board members Adam Conover, Angelina Burnett, Robb Chavis, Travis Donnelly, Ashley Gable, Eric Haywood and Nicole Yorkin and WGA East Council members Greg Iwinski and Erica Saleh. Additional committee members include Yahlin Chang, Hallie Haglund, Eric Heisserer, Luvh Rakhe, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, James Schamus, Tom Schulman, Patric M. Verrone.

Notably, a number of the leaders on the 2023 negotiating committee played major roles in the Guild’s successful campaign, starting in 2019, against talent agency packaging practices. Co-chair Goodman, who led the WGA West from 2017 to 2021, oversaw the Guild during its war with talent companies, which encouraged WGA members to drop their agents. Keyser, a law school grad who presided over the Guild from 2011 to 2015, was a co-chair of the WGA-agency negotiating committee during that period, alongside Stiehm and Shore.

The Guild’s latest Basic Agreement is set to expire on May 1, 2023; The Hollywood Reporter has asked the WGA East and West if negotiation dates have been set yet with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the bargaining representative for studios and streamers. Traditionally, the Directors Guild of America finishes its negotiations with the AMPTP before WGA talks begin.

The 2023 round of talks is poised to be a contentious one, as the dominant streaming model has led to discontent among writers upset with compensation for these projects, as well as the prevalence of “mini-rooms,” or small writers’ rooms that work during the development process, before official writers’ rooms convene. Faced with industry headwinds, some writers have already begun talking up the possibility of a strike, including Writers Guild of America West board member and 2023 negotiations committee member Burnett. In her platform for the WGA West’s 2022 board of directors elections, Burnett wrote that a strike would probably be necessary to achieve union priorities like reducing “free work” in the industry and improving the prevalence of “overscale” compensation.