Union suggests studios split from AMPTP – The Hollywood Reporter

In its latest strike-era update to members, the Writers Guild of America proposes that studio member companies of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers secede from the organization and negotiate individual deals with the guild.

As negotiations appear to be at a standstill, the WGA’s bargaining committee told members in an update Friday that behind-the-scenes conversations with individual legacy studio executives amid the strike showed a “desire and willingness to negotiate an agreement that appropriately addresses writers.” ‘Problems.'” The negotiating committee added, “These executives — and others — said they were willing to negotiate the proposals AMPTP presented to the public as deal-breakers. On every issue we requested, we had at least one executive at the old studio tell us they could accommodate us.

Union leaders then floated the idea of ​​member companies separating from the AMPTP, which includes the production companies of Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery and others are members, and are negotiating their own deals with the WGA. “We have made clear that we will negotiate with one or more major studios, outside the boundaries of the AMPTP, to conclude the new WGA deal. There is no requirement that companies negotiate through the AMPTP,” the negotiating committee wrote. They also noted that “economic destabilization” or “WGA Street report at the time of a strike may convince companies to follow this strategy.

Hollywood Reporter I’ve reached out to AMPTP for comment.

Negotiators also warned members that “until a breakthrough is achieved” the AMPTP “will attempt to sow doubt and internal discord in the union.” WGA leaders argued that member companies should instead “take control of the AMPTP process itself, or decide to do a deal separately. At that point, a strike solution would be within reach.”

About 11,500 WGA members have been on strike against AMPTP member companies for approximately 130 days. According to recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the entertainment sector has seen about 17,000 jobs lost amid the writers’ strike, along with the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike affecting the industry’s performance. Industry workers are facing eviction notices, and in some cases are living in cars and with their families as work continues to grind to a halt, Keith McNutt, executive director of the Community Recreation Trust for the Western Region, said recently. THR.

Read the message below.

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Dear members,

We know that people are anxious for information about the state of negotiations – and how difficult it is to stay strong during periods of silence – which is exacerbated by recent attempts by companies to circumvent and overwhelm the negotiating committee. Narration. What follows is an update on where we are and how we got here. We’re sharing things we haven’t yet, including conversations with individual CEOs that show how some companies may already see a path to a deal, while other AMPTP members aren’t quite there yet.

In the 130 days since the WGA strike began, AMPTP has submitted only one motion to the WGA, on August 11. Since then, the companies have not backed down from this proposal, although the WGA in turn submitted a counter-proposal to the AMPTP on August 15. The current stagnation is not a sign of corporate strength, but rather a sign of AMPTP paralysis.

The studios and streamers negotiating together through the AMPTP have disparate business models and interests, as well as different histories and relationships with unions. They are rivals in every way, except when they band together to take on Hollywood labor. Through AMPTP, these studios and legacy streaming companies negotiate as a united front that allows hardliners to dictate the course of action for all companies. AMPTP claims to represent all these divergent corporate interests, but in reality it operates a system that prefers inflexibility over compromise, and sacrifices the interests of individual businesses in reaching agreement. This regression to the hardline led to the first simultaneous strikes since 1960.

In contrast, during one-on-one conversations with legacy studio executives in the weeks following the SAG-AFTRA strike, we heard the willingness and desire to negotiate an agreement that appropriately addressed writers’ issues. One executive said they have reviewed our proposals, and although they are not committed to a specific deal, they said our proposals would not affect their company’s bottom line and that they knew they would have to give more than usual to settle these negotiations. Another said they were desperate for a deal. These same executives – and others – have said they are willing to negotiate proposals that AMPTP has made public as deal-breakers. On every issue we asked, we had at least one executive at the old studio tell us they could accommodate us.

So, while the intransigence of the AMPTP structure is holding back progress, these behind-the-scenes conversations demonstrate that there is a fair deal we need to reach to address our issues. Given the huge economic impact strikes have on legacy companies, their individual studio’s interest in a deal is not surprising. Warner Bros. has confirmed. That’s in a public financial statement just this week.

We have made it clear that we will be negotiating with one or more of the major studios, outside the boundaries of AMPTP, for the new WGA deal. There is no requirement for companies to negotiate through AMPTP. So if the economic destabilization of their companies wasn’t enough to prompt a studio or two or three to either assert their self-interest within AMPTP, or break away from the broken AMPTP model, perhaps Wall Street will finally get them to do just that.

Until a breakthrough is achieved, the companies and AMPTP will try to sow suspicion and internal discord in the union. Keep your radar up. When companies send messages through their agents or the press about the unreasonableness of your union leadership, treat these messages as part of a bad faith effort to influence negotiations rather than as an objective fact.

Companies know the truth: They must negotiate if they want to end the strike. They may not like it – and they may try to block it – but they know it. As they grapple with this fact and with each other, they will continue to try to get writers to settle for less than we need and deserve, and encourage us to negotiate with ourselves. But we won’t do that.

Instead, companies within AMPTP that wish to have a fair deal with writers must either take control of the AMPTP process itself, or decide to deal separately. At that point, a strike resolution would be within reach.

We understand how painful this time is for everyone. We are all tired, sore and afraid. There’s nothing wrong with saying that. Optimism for a return to negotiations has been met with a harsh reminder of how difficult this process is. We share the frustration over how long the companies have prolonged the strike, and remain committed to negotiating a just solution as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, as always, you can find the negotiating committee, board members, and board in the picket lines. When there is anything important to report, we will write back.

In solidarity with,
WGA Negotiating Committee

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