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Hollywood writers and studios reach new three-year contract

March 20, 2011 |  8:31 pm

After less than three weeks of talks, the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood's major studios have a reached an agreement on a new three-year contract.

The tentative agreement includes a 20% increase in pay TV residuals, a 2% increase in annual wage rates and an increase in employer pension contributions to 7.5% from 6%, according a letter the WGA sent to its 12,000 members Sunday night. The guild's current contract expires May 1.

The swift agreement was widely anticipated and stood in sharp contrast to the bitter standoff that occurred in late 2007, when writers staged a 100-day strike after contract talks with the studios broke down.

While the previous contract negotiations centered largely on how writers should be paid in new media, the most recent talks focused more on traditional bread-and-butter union issues, such as raising minimum-wage rates and strengthening the union's pension plan, which was hard hit by investment losses from the recession.

The agreement, reached Sunday afternoon, was modeled on similar contracts recently negotiated by the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Directors Guild of America.

The guild's negotiating committee said it would meet Monday to vote on sending the agreement to the WGA's board of directors. The proposed contract must be ratified by the guild's membership before it takes effect.

— Richard Verrier

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