Some film and television companies have found a way to hire two writers for the price of one, which violates the WGA’s contract, reports Deadline.com.
“So far nobody’s been caught doing it — not that the WGA West isn’t trying,” the report adds.
Some companies are hiring “paper teams,” or two writers who work together, with each getting half-pay. “Even some older experienced writers have caved to the companies’ demands that they work as a team,” the story notes.
The report adds: “The guild believes that some really unscrupulous TV companies even might have staffed up their writers’ rooms with four pairs of paper teams, with each of the eight writers working for half-scale. Film producers also have gotten into the act, which has become an issue in the WGA’s ongoing board of directors election.”
In his official candidate statement, board candidate Shawn Ryan pointed to the practice as a problem. “We are seeing, in both TV and film, increased attempts to force two writers to work together in order to cut two salaries into one,” he said. “This is a (contract) violation and must be stopped. We can take this fight to the companies but only if writers speak up and let the guild know this has occurred. Many writers are understandably concerned that their jobs might be at risk if they do so. We must find ways to uncover these violations and stop this practice without leaving the exploited writers exposed and out of work.”
While the guild has been investigating the use of paper teams for two years, it has been difficult to bring a case, the story says, partially because writers are concerned about risking their jobs if they take part in a legal action.