Home>Highlight>Hollywood Writers, Motion Pictures Guild Resume Bargaining

Hollywood Sign (Photo: Evan Symon for California Globe)

Hollywood Writers, Motion Pictures Guild Resume Bargaining

Strike has now lasted for more than 100 days

By Evan Symon, August 11, 2023 2:36 am

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) announced on Thursday that bargaining over a new contract would begin on Friday, which will be the 101 day mark of the months long writers strike.

The Writers Guild has been on strike since early May. Strikers have demanded better residual fees for streaming service programs, overall better pay, a minimum number of writers on writing staff to ensure continued employment, and strict regulation on the use of artificial intelligence. The studios and producers, represented by the AMPTP, have been attempting to negotiate with the Guild, but the union has refused to concede on any of the issues so far. The most recent attempt at negotiations last Friday ended with both sides leaving due to neither side agreeing to the topics at hand.

The WGA sent out a press release during the weekend accusing the AMPTP of leaking stories to the press and delaying negotiations to consult with the studios. The AMPTP, meanwhile, decided not to comment on the situation, due to agreeing to a media blackout.

However, less than a week later, things have shifted considerably. More and more WGA members have been growing disgruntled as more and more writers have had bank accounts drained or have had to take side jobs to stay afloat during the strike. Many strikers have also noted how the WGA is putting up a front as to how strong they still are against the reality of so many writers facing financial issues. On the studio side it is more of a mixed bag. Financially, studios have remained strong during the strike, with many showing substantial profits. However, the number of future projects ready for release are dwindling, with the combined writers and actors strikes already costing the California economy $3 billion since May.

With both sides facing problem, the WGA and AMPTP agreed to sit down for another meeting this Friday.

“Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, has asked the WGA Negotiating Committee to meet with AMPTP negotiators on Friday. We expect the AMPTP to provide responses to WGA proposals,” said the WGA in a message to members on Thursday. “Our committee returns to the bargaining table ready to make a fair deal, knowing the unified WGA membership stands behind us and buoyed by the ongoing support of our union allies.”

WGA negotiating committee co-chairs Chris Keyser and David A. Goodman added in a 100-day-mark statement that “The refusal to take writers’ reasonable proposals seriously has caused the WGA strike to last 100 days and counting; it serves only as a milestone of shame for the AMPTP. They and their member studios are wholly responsible for the over three-month shutdown of the industry and the pain it has caused workers and all others whose livelihoods depends on this business. The cost of settling the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes is far less than the damage their intractability has caused. Ultimately, the studios have no choice but to make a fair deal. Until then, we remain resolved and united.”

The AMPTP has continued their stance of not commenting on any current negotiations, although they did give a rare retort to the WGA’s recent accusations of the AMPTP going by a “playbook” to force the WGA to capitulate by not negotiating.

“The guild’s negotiating committee’s rhetoric is unfortunate,” expressed the AMPTP. “This strike has hurt thousands of people in this industry, and we take that very seriously. Our only playbook is getting people back to work.”

Industry and union experts expressed hope on Thursday that both sides can reach a deal on Friday, although many also noted that, with both sides being so far apart on issues, everything would likely not be resolved on Friday even if negotiations were successful.

“You can hash negotiations out in one day, but usually it takes longer than that,” said Theresa Stevenson, an arbitrator in Michigan who has helped settled union disputes and strikes in the past, to the Globe on Thursday. “Still, it is good that both sides are finally meeting in earnest. When a strike goes this long, both sides tend to start feeling the burn of it. The strikers are largely running out of money, and the studios are becoming more and more worried over what new shows and movies may come. Even with the actors still out, some shows could still resume with writers, and that would be enough for a bit.

“I’m not crazy about predictions, but based on prior negotiations, it is unlikely to end tomorrow. Best case scenario would be positive talks tomorrow and then over the weekend and next week working out all the details. Neither side wants to give up anything, so talks will be protracted. But stranger things have also happened. Both sides want an end to this soon, but for entirely different reasons.”

Talks between the Guild and the AMPTP are expected to begin early on Friday.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *