What Can the “Guild” Do For You?

By Howie Kuperberg

Fellow Writers,

My name is Howie Kuperberg. I'm a reality, game show and sketch comedy writer, as well as a member of the Network Organizing Committee. I've been a member of the WGA for twenty-five years, and I'm writing to tell you that it's an honor and a privilege to belong to the Writers Guild of America.

It's an honor to belong to a union whose membership includes the finest television and film writers in the world.

It's a privilege to belong to a union that affords me the opportunity to make a living at what I love to do. And make no mistake, it affords me that opportunity because of the benefits I receive working as a WGA writer on WGA shows.

These benefits include:

  • GUARANTEED RESIDUALS FOR THEATRICAL AND TV PROJECTS
  • EXCELLENT PENSION AND HEALTH PLANS ENTIRELY PAID FOR BY EMPLOYERS
  • GUARANTEED MINIMUM SALARIES
  • GUARANTEED NUMBER OF WEEKS

And if, for example, I work for a company that produces 13 weeks of shows in 6 weeks, that company has to pay me 13 weeks salary.

I have never looked at any of these benefits as perks. I look at them as fair compensation for the work I do. Unfortunately, in this day and age, that fairness does not extend to non-WGA shows.

Which brings me back to my original point.

To belong to the WGA is to belong to a union which is continually fighting for the interests of writers. Whether negotiating a new contract on behalf of all writers or legally representing just you in an arbitration with your employer, the Guild is an extremely powerful ally.

Writers being writers will always find something to bitch and moan about when it comes to the WGA. But talk to any Guild member for a few minutes and you'll discover a genuine sense of pride in belonging to the union.

WHAT YOU GET BY JOINING THE WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA:

1. Guaranteed minimum salaries and residual payments for theatrical and television projects.

2. Excellent pension and health plans with contributions entirely paid by your employer.

3. Fair procedures for determining credit on theatrical and television projects.

4. Grievance and arbitration procedures for fair settlement of disputes with your employer with legal representation by the Guild.

5. Joining the best professional association of theatrical, television and new media writers.

6. Ability to attend and participate in seminars related to your professional interests and film society membership.

7. Collective strength in the bargaining process.