Writers Guild Reports Outstanding Balance on Personal Loans

Friday, December 9, 2011 1:05pm
Feather Pen
The Writers Guild of America, West issued a total of $3.2 million in personal loans to writers during the last strike four years ago, and is still awaiting repayment of $785,000, according to The Associated Press.
The guild, composed of over 20,000 film and television writers, issued these personal loans to help its members ride the 2007-2008 writing strike out. 239 guild members received loans, and according to the guild’s most recent filing with the U.S. Department of labor, 68 writers still owe between $68 and $70,000.
The loans were originally given with zero interest so long as they were repaid within two years. But, due to the recession, some writers have been unable to return the money within the allotted timeframe. As a result, the guild’s board extended the term, though the personal loans now carry a 3.25 percent interest rate.
Despite this extension, the guild’s general counsel, Anthony Segall, told The Associated Press that he fears the some of the outstanding loans may never be repaid. The 1988 strike resulted in the guild writing off half a million dollars as a result of members not repaying on financing provided by the guild.
According to the terms of the loan agreements, the guild is permitted to take up to half of a borrower’s residual earnings—profit that arises as a result of TV reruns, DVD sales, and online streaming of a writer’s work. But according to Segall, that money is slow coming in, reported the Associated Press.
This recent strike was performed in an attempt to gain an increase in wages for Hollywood writers. Many actors from the Screen Actors Guild publically announced their support for their industry’s writers, and ultimately minimum rates for writers rose by several percentage points after an arbitration hearing.