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WGA and IATSE Settle Father’s Pride Writers’ Dispute

The Writers Guild of America West (WGAw) and IATSE (The Animation Guild Local 839) have reached a tentative agreement regarding representation on DreamWorks upcoming animated series FATHER OF THE PRIDE, according to DAILY VARIETY.

While the unions and DreamWorks are not officially commenting on this resolution, it appears that the Animation Guild will continue to represent the shows writers, with the inclusion of several standard WGA contract features such as pension and health contributions. The trustees of the industry-guild health and pension plans have reportedly given their blessings to the agreement.

WGAw president Victoria Riskin sent out an urgent e-mail to members on Sept. 25, 2003, alerting them that 12 writers on the DreamWorks production were being forced to take less benefits via the IATSE contract than conditions WGAw had negotiated for all primetime animated shows so far. She said the writers did, not want to become a test case for production companies trying to circumvent the prevailing standards set by the Writers Guild contract, and they don't want DreamWorks forcing them to change their union representation to another union.

DreamWorks position is that it is simply bound by an IATSE pact, which expires in 2006. IATSE claimed the WGAw was illegally poaching and will continue to collect initiation fees.

FATHER OF THE PRIDE is a primetime CG cartoon revolving around a family of white lions performing in the Siegfried and Roy Las Vegas show slated for fall 2004 on NBC. Magician Ray Horn is slowing recovering from his Sept. 3 mauling by one of the tigers during the duos magic act in Las Vegas.

Every U.S. network, including Fox, NBC, WB and UPN have paid writer benefits on series through the Guild's MBA. These shows include THE SIMPSONS, FAMILY GUY, GOD, THE DEVIL AND BOB, BABY BLUES, THE PJS, MISSION HILL, FUTURAMA, KING OF THE HILL, THE OBLONGS, DILBERT and SAMMY.