A Sound Foundation
The primary purpose of this Annual Report is to inform you of the financial status of the Writers Guild of America, west. However, it also provides an opportunity to present an overview of your Guild's myriad efforts during the course of the last year.
We are entering what promises to be a challenging period for our Guild. As we look to contract negotiations in 2001, it is clear we must continue to be vigilant in the area of our finances. The thorough planning and ongoing refinement of our budget process in years past have resulted in a solid financial foundation that will serve us well as we move into the coming critical months.
The Guild will be sending out a monthly wrap-around supplement with the Member News that will provide information about the issues in the negotiations and related topics. Here, however, we turn to the business of running your union.
For the fiscal year just closed on March 31, 2000 (FY 1999-2000), Guild operations ran a net surplus of $438,053.
This surplus compares favorably with deficit of $273,000 that we incurred at the end of the prior fiscal year and returns us to the more typical pattern of modest surpluses that we've enjoyed over the last five years.
Last year, as I wrote my annual letter to members, it was my duty to report a number of one-time expenses and unexpected revenue issues that adversely affected the Guild's bottom line.
In contrast, for the year just closed, we enjoyed a number of events that positively affected the Guild's net bottom line. On the revenue side we negotiated a settlement with our former bank tenant which obliged them to pay out almost 90% of the value of their lease to us up to three years in advance. The settlement of the lease resulted in an additional $300,000 in revenue during FY 99-00. We also received an additional $200,000 from the AMPTP in matching funds to complement our ongoing efforts to enhance the image of the writer. This fund was negotiated between the Guild and the AMPTP a number of years ago. These two positive events offset a short term unrealized market loss on our long-term investments due to the Fed increasing interest rates. On the expense side, we finished the year largely consistent with our budgeted projections.
Over the last decade, and under the leadership of four different Secretary-Treasurers, we have maintained a consistent focus on ensuring the Guild has both the expertise and economic resources to effectively confront management in order to further advance the rights and interests of our members.
As I mentioned, the key event for the Guild and its members next year is the expiration of the Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) on May 1, 2001. While technically the expiration of the MBA occurs after the close of the current fiscal year, our planning and projections are designed to take these crucial events into consideration.
I am confident we're well equipped to meet any challenges that may lie ahead of us next year. This confidence is based on the following:
- A combined Strike Fund and Good and Welfare Fund balance of almost $10 million.
- Unrestricted cash reserves of $5 million.
- A line-of-credit which is now in place for up to $4 million.
- Untapped equity in the Guild building of almost $5 million--a recent appraisal of the Guild's building indicates it has roughly doubled in value since we purchased it five and one-half years ago.
Last year I began the practice of disclosing reimbursable expenses incurred by your Officers and Board. Last fiscal year, the Guild reimbursed the Officers $1,029 and the Board of Directors $2,617 for official Guild business during the fiscal year. President John Wells and Vice-President Daniel Petrie, Jr. incurred no reimbursable expenses. Total reimbursable expenses for Secretary-Treasurer Michael Mahern totaled $1,029.
I would like to thank the members of the Membership-Finance Committee for their deep commitment to the complicated and time-consuming task of managing the Guild's finances. Co-chair Cynthia Thompson, Adam Rodman, David Balkan, Patric Verrone, Pat Green and Elias Davis deserve our thanks for their dedicated service on this committee. Thanks also go to the staff who run our Membership and Finance operations: Corrine Tippin (Membership), Alice Lee (Dues), Don Gor (Finance) as well as Paul Nawrocki (Assistant Executive Director).
I trust you will find the information within these pages useful. We pride ourselves on keeping you informed about Guild business, and we believe this Report to Writers helps to fulfill that commitment.