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Judge Refuses WME’s Bid to End Writers’ Boycott

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Judge Refuses WME’s Bid to End Writers’ Boycott
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Meanwhile, the agency is claiming that the guild did not respond to its updated overtures before a rejection: “There was no counter to our proposal, nor any proposal to meet and engage.”

After a Dec. 22 deal by the Writers Guild of America to represent Scribes for the first time in 20 months, talent agency WME is claiming that the guild did not contest its updated offer prior to the rejection.

“WME introduced a series of concessions just four days after our hearing on 18 December, which introduced an updated proposal. We clarified our willingness to engage in further negotiations with the WGA at any point during the holidays . We know this is every other agency. A statement from a spokesperson for WME said they finally reached a deal – they had the opportunity to discuss it with the guild to meet their specific needs, and we have consistently Have tried.

The WME representative said: “However, instead of giving us a direct answer, once again we learned indirectly through media reports that our proposal was rejected through a leaked letter that the WGA Dialogue Committee Guild members. There was no counter to our proposal., Nor any offer to meet and engage. Although we find this strategy unsuccessful in reaching a resolution, we are in our efforts to reach a new franchise agreement. I will remain. “

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Meanwhile, the US District Judge ruled against the agency’s bid for a preliminary injunction to prevent a boycott by the guild. WME spokespersons did not immediately respond to comments on the ruling.

On 29 December, the agency’s negotiating committee of the Writers Guild sent a note to its members outlining the reasons that were rejecting a deal with WME, adding: “Most of the dharna for the last 20 months Sat on, there will be no final. “ Bonus for WMEs – there is no accommodation to the fact that they are the most disputed of all agencies – there is no change in our current deals that softens the security that the authors have fought for nearly two years to achieve. ”

The Barely Hills-based WME, led by president Ari Greenberg, is the last major gripping talent agency in a standoff with the Writers Guild. The talent firm, part of entertainment and sports group Endeavor, is a sister company of film and TV company Endeavor Content, which has worked on 200 projects over the past year.

The Writers Guild called the agencies’ engagement with production companies a conflict of interest and required companies that represent their members to reduce their ownership interest in such entities to a 20 percent stake. The guild has also called for greater transparency about the private equity owners of the agencies. (Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners has a majority stake in Endeavor, run by CEO Ari Emanuel.)

In the Writers Guild’s WME rejection note on December 29, the agency’s negotiating committee stated that Endeavor did not agree to hold its ownership stake in Endeavor Content in a blind trust and claimed that “WME insists that they and Silver Lake May be an entity owned by., Together, Endeavor owns more than 20% of the material. “

Sources close to WME dispute the guild’s characterization, claiming that Endeavor and Silver Lake are willing to reduce their stake in Endeavor Content by 20 percent.

Over the past 20 months, after thousands of writers parted ways with their agents in April 2019, the Writers Guild has signed new agreements to small boutiques as well as large talent agencies, including Paradigm in March, UTA in July, and August includes ICTA Partners. 

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On 16 December, WME became the latest major agency to deal with rival CAA Guild, and the agreement noted that CAA supports a production unit, film and TV studio wiip. The agreement states that the CAA, and TPG, the owner of its private equity majority, will divest its stake in Wipe by 20 percent and provide proof of the sale in a timeline not publicly disclosed. The Guild and CAA also agreed to withdraw the legal claims.

Two days after the CAA deal, attorneys for WME and the Writers Guild called the U.S. Spoke during a court hearing headed by District Court Judge André Biote Jr., who pushed the agency and the guild to come to a deal. “Find a way to try to solve it,” Birotte said.

On Wednesday, Birot denied WME’s motion for a preliminary injunction, writing that the court “lacked jurisdiction” about the case and said a “group boycott” organized by the Writers Guild was protected. “Defendants’ group has boycotted against plaintiff, not including unlawful act or substantial and irreparable injury to property,” Birot wrote.

Biote decided that even though WME could establish the possibility of prevailing on its group’s exclusion claim, that a federal court was unable to issue an injunction for the Norris-LaGuardia Act, a nearly a century-old law enforcing the union. The courts of power were snatched away. – Contract to settle.

However, the talent agency argued that this is not a specific labor dispute between the employer and the employee, with Birote answering: “Disputes involving the means (i.e., ‘how’) of the contract of labor representation make this case non-negotiable. Labor does not change in issue. Undoubtedly, this dispute spreads from a labor dispute within the meaning of the Norris-Largardia Act.

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By coming to the conclusion that an injunction was beyond the scope of his powers, Biote avoided a thorough analysis of the merits of WME’s retaliatory claims. If the talent agency can find a solution by the December 30 decision, it survives a disastrous ruling, claiming that ultimately no suit has been won over the claim that the author is hurting the business of W.M.E. Are inadvertently colluding with others.

5:35 PM PST updated with details of US District Judge’s decision on WME’s bid to end the Writers Guild boycott.

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