The agency in question has not been identified. However, several sources point to UTA as the likely new signatory to WGA.
Participants in the virtual work meeting were also informed that there is also another important agency pact, we learned. No further details were provided either.
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As COVID-19 prevents most of the industry, with the exception of writers, from working, the new agreement follows the WGA’s conclusion of a new three-year comprehensive contract with AMPTP on July 1.
At the same time, UTA, CAA and WME were involved in litigation with the WGA over the guild’s multiple efforts to end packaging agreements and affiliate production in the industry. It is unclear how an ongoing agreement would impact this, and whether the signing of the UTA with the WGA would settle his ongoing federal lawsuit with the guild.
In April 2019, the WGA asked its members to fire their agents if their organizations did not sign the agency’s new code of conduct. As thousands of scribes cut ties with agents many of them have had for years, the code has essentially ended the lucrative practice of packaging. After a successful re-election campaign late last year, Goodman became even more emboldened in his anti-packaging position, both inside and outside the courts.
The UTA was probably the most active in communicating with WGA leaders among the major agencies. Co-chair Jay Sures made an opening to WGA West Goodman, a former UTA client, in May 2019, trying to restart stalled negotiations between the guild and the Association of Talent Agents.
The UTA was hit hard by the shutdown of production linked to the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March, which emptied the scenery throughout the city. In March, the agency implemented pay cuts; in May, he laid off dozens of staff, most of whom were assistants, as the seat belts tightened further.
Although the first of the Big 4 to speak with the WGA, UTA is not by far the only agency. Gersh, Paradigm and APA have already signed agreements with the WGA, as have more than 70 other small agencies.