‘The Whole Town Thought We Would Lose’: WGA Chief on How Guild Prevailed in Agency Fight

WGA West president David Goodman knew taking on Hollywood’s largest talent agencies would be an uphill battle from the start.

But the veteran showrunner who led the guild’s campaign to reform its agency franchise rules was heartened at key junctures during the three-year campaign by the strong sense of solidarity and unanimity among WGA members about the need to eliminate agency packaging fees and to clamp down on agency-affiliated production activity.

On Friday, the WGA West and WGA East reached total victory, securing a franchise agreement with the last and largest agency holdout, WME.

“To me, the greatest accomplishment is showing that the guilds took on a fight that pretty much the whole town thought we would lose,” Goodman told Variety. “Everybody from the start said the agencies are never going to give up packaging. They’ll give up representing writers rather than give in” to the guild’s new rules.

“I feel very proud of the membership,” Goodman said. “We wouldn’t have been able to have this success if they hadn’t shown such solidarity with the union and such an understanding of the importance of the things we were fighting for.”

More to come

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