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The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said Friday night that the studios remain aligned, and pushed the Writers Guild of America to respond to its latest offer.
AMPTP was responding to the WGA’s call earlier today for one or more of its member companies to separate from the alliance and negotiate a separate deal. The WGA suggested that some legacy studios might be willing to meet the writers’ requirements.
“AMPTP member companies are allied and negotiating together to reach a solution,” the studio group said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is false.”
The WGA strike began 130 days ago, and the two sides have not met in the negotiating room for three weeks. Each side emphasized that it was up to the other to respond.
Friday night’s verbal exchanges between workers and management came after a tense week in Hollywood following the Labor Day weekend. Many people preoccupied with the downtime and its ripple effects view the end of summer as a psychological milestone.
There has also been an unmistakably growing sense of urgency among hundreds of series creators, writers and producers communicating non-stop via WhatsApp and other private channels. There is no doubt that WGA leaders — particularly negotiating committee co-chairs Chris Keyser and David Goodman — have fielded inquiries from members looking for insight into the status of the contract talks. Sources familiar with the outreach confirm that there have been no ultimatums or threats to break away from the impressive solidarity organized by WGA West and WGA East since the strike began on May 2. But with Labor Day at the end of the summer, industry insiders looked at the calendar this week and realized that the window to complete this year’s complex negotiations is narrowing as the fall and winter holidays approach.
Meanwhile, leaders and executives within AMPTP member companies are feeling increasing pressure as ongoing production delays disrupt long-term plans for the 2023 and 2024 release schedule. With executives reconvening this week after the final moments of summer, the prospect of losing every opportunity to remake any TV series or movie before the end of the year is acute. By Friday, industry chatter was growing about the prospects of a major Hollywood player breaking away from the AMPTP to strike a separate deal with the WGA as the shutdown continues.
In its statement earlier today, the WGA said the AMPTP had refused to back down from its August 11 offer. AMPTP said the union had not yet responded on several issues, and said the union “remained steadfast” in its request for mandatory minimum staffing on TV shows.
“The WGA has achieved significant gains for its members during this negotiation process and has the ability to move these negotiations forward by responding to the latest AMPTP submissions on key issues,” the Studio Alliance said.
The AMPTP also set a detailed timetable for negotiations. The latest entry notes that on August 18, the WGA indicated it would respond the following week, but has yet to do so.
On August 22, top union leaders met with four top studio leaders: Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and Warner Bros.’ David Zaslav. Discovery, and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley. The union later described the meeting as a two-hour “lecture” and urged them to accept the offer on the table.
Here’s the full AMPTP statement:
AMPTP member companies are allied and negotiate together to reach a solution. Any suggestion to the contrary is false.
Every AMPTP member company wants a fair deal for writers and actors and an end to strikes, which affect not only our fellow writers and actors, but thousands of others across the industry.
That’s why the AMPTP frequently puts out bids addressing the WGA’s key priorities, including the latest round of bids on August 17-18. [See below] We are close to many issues, one of which is artificial intelligence. Our AI proposal provided clear assurances that the use of AI would not impact writers’ wages, credit, or separate rights. We asked the WGA to identify any remaining gaps in the AI offering and they did not respond.
On the important issue of compulsory staffing, the WGA has remained steadfast in its original position, except for one modest change in its position on staffing in development rooms.
The WGA has achieved significant gains for its members during this negotiation process and has the ability to move these negotiations forward by responding to the latest AMPTP submissions on key issues.
AMPTP, including all its member companies, remains eager to find a solution.
Timeline of proposals
April 14, 2023: AMPTP submitted to the WGA its Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 31-page document.
April 26, 2023: AMPTP submitted to the WGA its revised Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 40-page document.
April 30, 2023: AMPTP submitted to the WGA its Second Revised Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 41-page document that addressed all items under negotiations.
August 11, 2023: AMPTP submitted to the WGA its Third Revised Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 69-page document that addressed all items under negotiations.
August 15, 2023: WGA responds with a 4-page document with limited actions in a few areas.
August 16, 2023: The WGA submitted details of its revised written proposal on artificial intelligence
August 17, 2023: AMPTP submitted to the WGA a revised counterproposal to AI, which focused on the key concerns expressed by the WGA during the debate the previous day.
August 18, 2023: AMPTP offers further concessions to WGA response on August 15. The WGA indicated it would respond the following week. AMPTP has not heard from the union since that time.
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