Monday, April 22, 2024

Writers Guild Strike No Closer to End As Union Says “This wasn’t a meeting to make a deal. This was a meeting to get us to cave”


The Writers Guild strike against the movie studios aka AMPTP continues. The WGA sent this message out to members yesterday after the studios offered a tepid response to the brutal strike. Members of both the WGA and SAG AFTRA are suffering, as are thousands of people connected to the business from craft services to trucking to costumers etc. From the WGA response below, it doesn’t seem like the two sides are getting any closer to agreements.

Yesterday, both unions staged huge solidarity rallies to show that despite the studios trying to crush them financially, the guilds remain strong in their resolve not to give in.

“Our priority is to end the strike so that valued members of the creative community can return to what they do best and to end the hardships that so many people and businesses that service the industry are experiencing. We have come to the table with an offer that meets the priority concerns the writers have expressed. We are deeply committed to ending the strike and are hopeful that the WGA will work toward the same resolution,” said Carol Lombardini, president of AMPTP, in a statement included with the contract offer details.

But Lomardini’s words don’t match the reality of what’s going on here. Here’s a link to the studio’s latest proposal.

The longer this goes on, the more likely broadcast television — scripted shows — will lose audience that will never come back. Is that the idea?

WGA letter to members:

Dear Members,

After 102 days of being on strike and of AMPTP silence, the companies began to bargain with us on August 11th, presenting us for the first time with a counteroffer.

We responded to their counter at the beginning of last week and engaged in further discussions throughout the week.

On Monday of this week, we received an invitation to meet with Bob Iger, Donna Langley, Ted Sarandos, David Zaslav and Carol Lombardini. It was accompanied by a message that it was past time to end this strike and that the companies were finally ready to bargain for a deal.

We accepted that invitation and, in good faith, met tonight, in hopes that the companies were serious about getting the industry back to work.

Instead, on the 113th day of the strike – and while SAG-AFTRA is walking the picket lines by our side – we were met with a lecture about how good their single and only counteroffer was.

We explained all the ways in which their counter’s limitations and loopholes and omissions failed to sufficiently protect writers from the existential threats that caused us to strike in the first place. We told them that a strike has a price, and that price is an answer to all – and not just some – of the problems they have created in the business.

But this wasn’t a meeting to make a deal. This was a meeting to get us to cave, which is why, not twenty minutes after we left the meeting, the AMPTP released its summary of their proposals.

This was the companies’ plan from the beginning – not to bargain, but to jam us. It is their only strategy – to bet that we will turn on each other.

Tomorrow we will send a more detailed description of the state of the negotiations. And we will see you all out on the picket lines and let the companies continue to see what labor power looks like.

In solidarity,

WGA Negotiating Committee

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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