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.
The AMPTP was responding to the WGA’s call earlier in the day for one or more of the member companies to break away from the alliance and negotiate a separate deal. The WGA suggested that some of the legacy studios may be willing to accommodate the writers’ demands.
“The AMPTP member companies are aligned and are negotiating together to reach a resolution,” the studio group said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is false.”
The WGA strike has been underway for 130 days, and the two sides have not met in the negotiating room for three weeks. Each side has maintained that it’s up to the other to respond.
The Friday night verbal volleys between labor and management came after a tense week in Hollywood following the Labor Day holiday. The end of summer marker is seen by many who are wrapped up in the work stoppage and its ripple effects as a psychological milestone.
There’s also been an unmistakable heightened sense of urgency among hundreds showrunners and writer-producers who are communicating non-stop through WhatsApp and other private channels. There is no question that WGA leaders — notably negotiating committee co-chairs Chris Keyser and David Goodman — have fielded inquiries from members looking for insight into the state of the contract talks. Sources familiar with the outreach emphasize that there’s been no ultimatums nor threats to break with the impressive solidarity that the WGA West and WGA East have marshaled since the strike began May 2. But with the Labor Day bookend on the summer, industry-ites have looked at the calendar this week and realized that the window for completing complex negotiations this year is narrowing as fall and winter holidays approach.
Meanwhile, leaders and executives within the AMPTP member companies are feeling increased pressure as the ongoing production delays disrupt long-set plans for 2023 and 2024 release schedule. As executives reassembled this week after the last gasp of summer, the prospect of losing all shot at getting any TV series or movies back in production before year’s end came into sharp focus. By Friday, industry chatter was growing about the odds of a sizable Hollywood player breaking away from the AMPTP to strike a separate deal with the WGA as the work stoppage goes on.
In its statement earlier in the day, the WGA said that the AMPTP has refused to budge from its Aug. 11 offer. The AMPTP said that the guild has not yet responded on several issues, and said the guild has “remained entrenched” in its demand for mandatory minimum staffing on TV shows.
“The WGA has achieved substantial gains for its members during this negotiation process and holds the power to move this negotiation forward by responding to the AMPTP’s most recent offers on key issues,” the studio alliance said.
The AMPTP also set out a detailed timeline of the negotiation. The final entry states that on Aug. 18, the WGA indicated it would respond the following week, but has yet to do so.
On Aug. 22, top guild leaders met with four top studio leaders: Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav and NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley. The guild later described the meeting as a two-hour “lecture,” urging them to accept the offer on the table.
Here is the AMPTP’s full statement:
The AMPTP member companies are aligned and are negotiating together to reach a resolution. Any suggestion to the contrary is false.
Every member company of the AMPTP wants a fair deal for writers and actors and an end to the strikes, which are affecting not only our writer and actor colleagues, but also thousands of others across the industry.
That is why the AMPTP has repeatedly put forward offers that address major priorities of the WGA, including a last round of offers on August 17th and 18th. [See below] On many issues, AI among them, we are close. Our AI proposal has provided clear guarantees that the use of AI will not affect writers’ pay, credit or separated rights. We have asked the WGA to identify any remaining holes in the AI offer and it has not responded.
On the important topic of mandatory staffing, the WGA has remained entrenched in its original position, except for a single modest change in its position on staffing in development rooms.
The WGA has achieved substantial gains for its members during this negotiation process and holds the power to move this negotiation forward by responding to the AMPTP’s most recent offers on key issues.
The AMPTP, including all its member companies, remains eager to reach resolution.
TIMELINE OF PROPOSALS
April 14, 2023: AMPTP presented WGA with its Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 31-page document.
April 26, 2023: AMPTP presented WGA with its Revised Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 40-page document.
April 30, 2023: AMPTP presented WGA with its Second Revised Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 41-page document that addressed all items in negotiations.
August 11, 2023: AMPTP presented WGA with its Third Revised Comprehensive Package Proposal, a 69-page document that addressed all items in negotiations.
August 15, 2023: WGA responded with a 4-page document with limited moves in a handful of areas.
August 16, 2023: WGA provided details of its revised written proposal on A.I.
August 17, 2023: AMPTP provided WGA a revised AI counterproposal, which focused on the key concerns that the WGA had expressed during discussion the previous day.
August 18, 2023: AMPTP offered further compromises to WGA’s August 15th response. WGA indicated it would respond the following week. AMPTP has not heard from the Guild since that time.