The WGAW Legal Services Department protects writers' rights by pursuing grievances and arbitrations against signatory companies for violations of the Guild's collective bargaining agreements and writers' personal services contracts.
The Legal Arbitration Process
As a benefit to writers and companies alike, the Minimum Basic Agreement or “MBA” establishes an arbitration procedure for the binding resolution of disputes arising under its terms. Arbitration is similar to a civil trial. Instead of a judge or jury, a neutral arbitrator will be selected to hear and decide this dispute. Most MBA arbitrators have years of experience handling disputes under the Guild agreement.
Free Rewrites Arbitration
In 2004, an arbitrator ruled that producers are NOT agents of the studios. Thus if a producer asks a writer to make changes to a draft, the studio is under no obligation to pay for those changes unless the writer delivers the completed literary material to the person authorized to accept delivery in the writing contract. If a writer wants to be paid, he or she should deliver the draft to the executive named in the writer's contract and demand payment for the delivered material.