Striking Hollywood writers, studios to resume negotiations on Wednesday

18:00 18.09.2023 - Reuters, Reuters

Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood's major studios will resume contract talks on Wednesday to try and end a work stoppage that has disrupted production for more than four months.

The WGA, in a note to members on Monday, encouraged its writers to continue picketing outside studio offices until an agreement is reached.

"You might not hear from us in the coming days while we are negotiating, but know that our focus is getting a fair deal for writers as soon as possible," the union said.

The WGA called a work stoppage in May when it could not reach a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents Netflix (NFLX.O), Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) and other major media companies.

Writers are seeking higher compensation and protections around use of artificial intelligence.

/ Monday, September 18, 2023, 6:00 PM /

themes:  Hollywood

Striking writers, Hollywood studios to meet again Thursday

Negotiators for the striking Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood studios will meet again on Thursday to try to resolve a nearly five-month standoff that has disrupted film and television production.

The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents Walt Disney (DIS.N), Netflix ..... O) and other media companies, held talks for the first time in about a month on Wednesday.

Early on Wednesday evening, the two sides issued a joint statement saying simply: "The WGA and AMPTP met for bargaining today and will meet again tomorrow."

To help spark a deal, Wednesday's meeting was attended by Disney CEO Bob Iger, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Comcast's (CMCSA.O) NBCUniversal Studio Group Chairman Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav, according to a source close to the studios.

People in the room described the session as "encouraging," the source said, and the four executives are expected to return to the talks on Thursday.

The WGA went on strike in May after negotiations reached an impasse over compensation, minimum staffing of writers' rooms and the role of artificial intelligence (AI), among other issues.

The SAG-AFTRA actors union called a work stoppage in July, putting Hollywood in the midst of two simultaneous strikes for the first time in 63 years. No talks are currently scheduled between the actors and the studios.

Studios Say Talks With Striking Writers May Resume Next Week

Contract negotiations between Hollywood studios and striking screenwriters could restart next week, the studios said in a statement on Thursday. A return to bargaining - the last talks were held three weeks ago - could be a turning point in the strike, now in its fifth month.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of entertainment companies, and the Writers Guild of America, which represents more than 11,000 television and film writers, have been squabbling over procedure. Last month, studios sweetened their offer for a new three-year contract - and then, in an unusual move, publicly disclosed the details, hoping rank-and-file guild members would be satisfied and pressure their leaders to make a deal.

Union leaders, who denounced the disclosure, have since insisted that the onus is on studios to keep improving their offer. The studios have rejected that demand, contending that they would be negotiating against themselves.

On Wednesday, the Writers Guild made a move, according to the statement by the studio alliance.

"The W.G.A. reached out to the A.M.P.T.P. and asked for a meeting to move negotiations forward," the alliance said. "We have agreed and are working to schedule a meeting for next week." The alliance added that it was eager to reach a deal and was committed to "working together with the W.G.A. to end the strike."

The Writers Guild said in an email to members that it was "in the process of scheduling a time to get back in the room" but declined to comment further.

The union reached out to studios amid frustration from some of its A-list members, including Ryan Murphy ("American Horror Story"), Kenya Barris ("black-ish"), Noah Hawley ("Fargo") and Dan Fogelman ("This Is Us"). Some have called union leaders to ask pointed questions. Why can't you get in a negotiating room with studio representatives and not come out until you have a deal? Others have pushed for a sit-down to hear their union's strategy for resolving the strike.

The financial toll on people across the entertainment industry has become increasingly grim. Showrunners like Mr. Murphy employ thousands of crew members across their productions, putting them in the position of being besieged by people who ask when they can get back to work and having no answers.

At 136 days, the strike is one of the longest in the history of the Writers Guild. (The longest was 153 days in 1988.) The union has called this moment "existential," arguing that the streaming era has deteriorated its members' working conditions and compensation levels.

Studios have defended their proposal as offering the highest wage increase to writers in more than three decades, while also offering protections against artificial intelligence and signaling a willingness to discuss staffing minimums in television writers' rooms.

Hollywood writers and studios set to resume negotiations amidst strike

Negotiations between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood studios are set to resume on Thursday, as the two sides aim to resolve a nearly five-month labor dispute that has disrupted film and television production. After a month-long hiatus, representatives from the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) came together for talks on Wednesday. In a joint statement issued later that evening, they confirmed their plans to continue bargaining the following day.

To inject momentum into the negotiations, several high-profile industry figures were present at Wednesday's meeting. ..... Those present described the session as "encouraging," and the four executives are expected to return for further talks on Thursday.

The strike by the WGA began in May, prompted by a deadlock in negotiations over key issues such as compensation, minimum staffing requirements for writers' rooms, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry. Alongside the WGA's strike, the SAG-AFTRA actors union also initiated a work stoppage in July, marking the first time in 63 years that Hollywood has faced simultaneous strikes by both writers and actors. ..... 

Ahead of Wednesday's negotiations, the WGA issued a note to its members, urging them to continue picketing outside studio offices until a fair agreement is reached. The union emphasized its commitment to securing a favorable deal for writers as quickly as possible and acknowledged that communications may be limited during the negotiation process.

The primary demands of the WGA pertain to fair compensation for writers and the implementation of safeguards regarding the use of artificial intelligence. These issues have been central to the standoff between the WGA and the AMPTP, which represents major media companies such as Netflix, Disney, and others.

As the negotiations resume on Thursday, the hopes of both the WGA and Hollywood studios are pinned on reaching a mutually acceptable agreement that will allow the resumption of normal production activities. The outcome of these talks will not only determine the immediate future of the entertainment industry but also shape the landscape of labor relations within Hollywood.

Striking Writers, Hollywood Studios to Meet Again Thursday



CNBC, citing people close to the negotiations, said writers and producers were near an agreement and hoped to reach a deal on Thursday. But if a deal is not reached the strike could last through the end of the year, CNBC reported.



Is an end to the Hollywood strike in sight? Hopes for a deal rise as studio heads join talks

Hollywood writers and producers could be nearing an agreement to end the strike that has paralyzed the entertainment industry, ashigh-level talks enter a second day on Thursday with major studio heads now at the table.

A source close to the negotiations told NBC News that talks Wednesday were productive and that there was hope for "more progress" as high-level executives attended the negotiations for the first time since the strike began months ago.

On Wednesday night, the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers released a joint statement saying both sides had met for bargaining and planned to meet again the following day.

The AMPTP is a trade group that bargains for the major studios and streaming services. (The group represents NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

Until now talks have been led by top AMPTP staffers and labor relations representatives, but studio heads including Disney's Bob Iger and Netflix's Ted Sarandos have now taken a seat at the table, the source said - signaling a potentially significant shift.

CNBC reported that the two sides hope to finalize a deal Thursday.

Hollywood writers, studios fail to reach deal for second straight day -CNN

Negotiators for Hollywood's major studios and striking film and television writers failed to reach an agreement to end a months-long stalemate after meeting for a second straight day on Thursday, CNN reported.

Representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) talked for more than 10 hours, CNN said. It is unclear when they will convene again.

Spokespeople for the WGA and the AMPTP did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

To help spark a deal, sessions on Wednesday and Thursday were attended by Walt Disney (DIS. ..... O) co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Comcast's ..... O) NBCUniversal Studio Group Chairman Donna Langley and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD.O) CEO David Zaslav, according to a source close to the studios.

Roughly 11,500 WGA members walked off the job in May to protest pay and working conditions in the streaming TV era.


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