AMPTP, WGA to Meet Again Next Week

UPDATED: The Writers Guild of America met again with negotiators from the major studios on Friday afternoon, but the sides appeared to make little progress toward ending the 109-day strike. The guild issued a message to members Friday evening confirming that the sides plan to gather again next week.

The guild has held talks each of the last four days with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, but the two sides remain far apart on the major issues, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. The WGA’s message to members stated that the sides “continue to exchange proposals” and will meet again next week though no specific dates were included.

“Thank you for the many messages of support and solidarity as we talk with the AMPTP. As always, be skeptical of rumors from third parties, knowing that the Guild will communicate when we think there is something of significance to report,” the WGA’s negotiating committee stated.

Top executives from the studios, including several CEOs, held a conference call earlier in the day to discuss next steps. The executives shared their frustration over the lack of progress, but it does not appear that the AMPTP intends to walk away from the table, according to the sources.

At the same time the management side has resisted making further concessions, saying they do not want to negotiate against themselves.

The AMPTP renewed bargaining with the WGA last Friday, delivering a package of proposals on issues like TV staff size, streaming data transparency and artificial intelligence.

The WGA gave its response to the studios on Tuesday. The negotiators spent much of Wednesday and Thursday talking about how to regulate AI, and were believed to be making some progress on that issue, though obstacles remained.

The WGA strike began on May 2, shuttering most scripted TV and film production in the U.S. and upending the fall broadcast schedules. The SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 14, has shut down film production both in the U.S. and overseas, and led to a number of postponements on the film calendar.

On Thursday, the WGA issued a report criticizing Netflix, Amazon and Disney for consolidating power over the entertainment industry. The report accused the corporate giants of engaging in a series of abusive business practices, including suppressing wages, predatory pricing and reducing the output of content.

Since May 2, the WGA has maintained strong turnout on picket lines in Los Angeles and New York. Picket activity has been canceled for Monday due to the approach of Hurricane Hilary on the West Coast.

Jennifer Maas, Cynthia Littleton and Matt Donnelly contributed to this story.

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