The Writers Guild of America is the sole collective bargaining representative for writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, interactive and new media industries. It has numerous affiliation agreements with other U.S. and international writing organizations and is in the forefront of the debates concerning economic and creative rights for writers.
Benefits of WGA membership include:
The history of the Writers Guild of America can be traced back to 1962. At that time, the Authors Guild was first organized as a protective association for writers of books, short stories, articles, etc. Subsequently, writers of drama formed a Dramatists Guild and joined forces with the Authors Guild, which then became the Authors League. In 1921, the development of another medium of expression for writers - and motion picture industry - brought about the formation of the Screen Writers Guild which also became a branch of the Authors League. In the period of 1921 to 1933, the Screen Writers Guild operated more as a club than a Guild. It had a clubhouse, for social activities, put on plays and exchanged professional information. However, the need for some kind of action for the protection of writers' rights and economic conditions became apparent during this period.
- Excellent health and pension plans entirely paid for by your employer.
- Minimum rates with yearly increases.
- Procedures for determining credits (including placement and size) which fairly reflect the writer's contribution.
- Automatic arbitration if a producer decides to share a "written by" credit.
- A community of writers who support you, with regularly scheduled educational programs and workshops.
- An organization devoted to representing your professional concerns.
- A film society that screens more than 50 films per year.
In 1933, a group of ten writers gathered at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood. The group began the process to seek protection for writers under the U.S. Labor Codes. In 1937 the historical U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act, gave those working for unification of the Screen writers Guilds an opportunity to call for an election and eventually certified the reincorporated Screen Writers Guild as the collective bargaining agent of all writers in the motion picture industry.
In 1939, collective bargaining with the producers commenced. A deal was finalized in 1941 - the first contract was signed in 1942. However, most of the organizational efforts were postponed during the years of World War II. The Screen Writers Guild went through a period of internal political struggle from 1939 to 1947. During this time, the Radio Writers Guild had been organized as another branch of the Authors League - in response to development of that industry; and then television began appearing on the scene in 1949. The Screen Writers Guild had helped to organize the Radio Writers Guild and in 1950 began organizing a group of television writers within its own body - for protective purposes but with the thought of eventual autonomy for this group. A Television Writers Group was organized within the Authors League with the same purpose in mind. However, the practice of endless proliferation of branches became burdensome to the Authors League and, commencing in 1949, meetings took place in New York between representative of the Authors Guild, Dramatists Guild, Radio Writers Guild, Television Writers Group and Screen Writers Guild to try to devise a simpler but stronger form of unification.
Finally, in 1954, a revised organizational structure was set up and formed the writers Guild of America west and East. The WGA today is a labor organization representing writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, interactive, and new media industries. It is made up of Writers Guild of America, west and East, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. The Mississippi River is used as the dividing line for administrative jurisdiction between the two Guilds.
As a result of the merger in 1954 between the Screen Writers Guild and the western branch of the Radio Writers Guild, the screen writers then became the screen Branch of WGAw, the television and radio writers became the TV-Radio Branch of WHAw. On January 18, 1973, Guild membership approved the amalgamation of the branches, and the Screen and TV-Radio Branches disappeared into the parent body. WGAw is run by a Board of Directors of 16 members under a President, Vice President and Secretary-Treasurer. WGAE has a council of 21 members under a President, Vice President and Secretary Treasurer.
The administration of Writers Guild west and East is carried out under the supervision of an Executive Director for each organization.
WGAw is located at 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
WGAe is located at 555 West 57th Street, Suite 1230, New York, NY 10019