WGA Restarts Negotiations With AMPTP as Hopes Rise for End to Strike

The Writers Guild of America met Friday with the major studios for the first negotiating session since May, and received a new package of proposals.

The WGA told members in an email that it would respond to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers next week.

“We will evaluate their offer and, after deliberation, go back to them with the WGA’s response next week,” the guild told members. “Sometimes more progress can be made in negotiations when they are conducted without a blow-by-blow description of the moves on each side and a subsequent public dissection of the meaning of the moves. That will be our approach, at least for the time being, until there is something of significance to report, or unless management uses the media or industry surrogates to try to influence the narrative.”

The WGA had previously sought to downplay expectations, saying the studios have given every indication of sticking to their “anti-union playbook.”

Guild leaders met last Friday with Carol Lombardini, the CEO of the AMPTP, in an effort to restart the talks. In the meeting, Lombardini stressed that “People just want to get back to work.”

“We agree, with the caveat that those conditions that have made writers’ jobs increasingly untenable must first be addressed,” the union said in a message to members last week.

There has been no sign that the AMPTP intends to relent on the WGA demand for a minimum staff size for TV writers rooms or a viewership-based streaming residual. The WGA has stressed that the AMPTP has refused to counter on at least five or six issues, and that the studios must address the union’s entire agenda before the strike is resolved.

The strike crossed the 100-day mark on Wednesday, surpassing the length of the last writers strike in 2007-08. The 2023 strike is now the fourth-longest in WGA history, trailing only the strikes in 1988, 1960 and 1973. The longest, in 1988, lasted 153 days.

The strike has forced the networks to come up with fall schedules that rely heavily on sports, unscripted shows and foreign imports, plus a few shows that originally aired on streaming. It has also forced the postponement of the Emmy Awards.

The SAG-AFTRA strike, which began on July 14, has also had a major impact on the film industry, shutting down production, forcing release delays, and preventing studios from using actors to promote their projects.

The WGA also notified the AMPTP last week that it wants an additional provision in its contract allowing members to respect other unions’ picket lines. The union is also seeking to ensure that the health plan and members’ eligibility for health coverage is not impacted by the strike.

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