WGA Negotiations to Resume on Friday With Studio Response to Guild Proposals

The Writers Guild of America will resume negotiations with the studios on Friday, the guild told members in an email.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers is set to deliver a response to the guild’s proposals, the union said.

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“Carol Lombardini has asked the WGA Negotiating Committee to meet with AMPTP negotiators on Friday. We expect the AMPTP to provide responses to WGA proposals,” the union said. “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.”

The meeting comes a week after Ellen Stutzman, the WGA chief negotiator, met with Lombardini, the CEO of the AMPTP, in an effort to resume talks.

Both sides have remained at odds on the most important issues in the writers’ strike, which has been ongoing for 101 days. Those issues include a viewership-based streaming residual, a minimum staffing level for TV writers rooms, and a guaranteed minimum number of weeks of work for TV writers.

Even as the two sides have moved closer to the bargaining table, the WGA has sought to downplay expectations for a speedy resolution to the strike.

In an email on Aug. 3, the WGA negotiating committee warned that the AMPTP was spreading rumors of “backchannel talks” in an effort to create false hopes and soften up the union’s resolve.

“Every move they make at the bargaining table and every rumor away from it needs to be evaluated through the lens of their attempts to get us to accept less,” the committee wrote. “We’re not falling for it.”

The AMPTP has thus far refused to go along with the idea of a guaranteed staffing minimum on TV. The WGA has proposed a minimum ranging from six to 12 writers for most shows, depending on the number of episodes. The guild also wants writers to be given 10 weeks of guaranteed employment on pre-development rooms, and three weeks per episode on post-greenlight shows, plus a provision ensuring that at least half the writing staff is employed through production.

While the AMPTP has rejected what it calls a “hiring quota,” there may be more flexibility around ensuring that writers participate in the production of their episodes. The WGA has argued that such participation is critical to developing writers’ careers and preparing them to run shows.

The WGA has noted that the AMPTP has also rejected its proposals for film writers, including weekly pay and a guaranteed “second step” in screenwriter deals.

The AMPTP has also said that on core economic issues, like percentage increases on residuals and minimum rates, it will offer no more than was given to the Directors Guild of America. The DGA ratified a deal in June that provides for increases of 5%, 4% and 3.5% over the three years of the contract, as well as a 76% increase in foreign residuals on the largest platforms.

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