WGA and AMPTP to Meet Friday, Guild Calls for Strong Picket Turnout as Contract Talks Heat Up

Members of WGA walk with pickets on strike outside the Culver Studio, Tuesday May 2, 2023 in Culver City, California. (Ringo Chiu / Shutterstock)

Members of WGA walk with pickets on strike outside the Culver Studio, Tuesday May 2, 2023 in Culver City, California. (Ringo Chiu / Shutterstock)

WGA and AMPTP Continue Contract Talks Amidst Growing Optimism.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are set to convene for a third consecutive day of negotiations on Friday, marking a pivotal juncture in Hollywood's labor dispute. While there is increasing hope for a resolution, concerns persist as critical issues remain unresolved in the nearly five-month strike.

In a recent update to its members, the WGA confirmed the ongoing negotiations, expressing gratitude for the outpouring of support and solidarity received in recent days. They also urged as many members as possible to participate in picket lines during the upcoming session.

Since the strike commenced on May 2, the industry has eagerly anticipated a potential breakthrough in negotiations. Speculation circulated within the creative community on Thursday, suggesting an agreement between the studios and writers could be imminent by early evening. However, reliable sources close to the situation clarified that significant matters and negotiation points are still under discussion. As of Wednesday, the guild had yet to indicate that the current terms were sufficient to bring the strike, which is entering its 144th day on Friday, to a close.

Optimism was fueled by the presence of CEOs and senior leaders from major Hollywood studios, including Disney's Bob Iger, Netflix's Ted Sarandos, NBCUniversal's Donna Langley, and Warner Bros. Discovery's David Zaslav. Their participation expedites the exchange between management and labor in resolving the most contentious contract issues. There are indications of progress towards a compromise regarding the WGA's request for a revised minimum staffing formula for writers working on episodic TV programs.

Additional topics discussed on Thursday encompassed the intricate matter of regulating the use of generative artificial intelligence in screenwriting and the WGA's advocacy for including in the master film and TV contract the right for its members to support strikes and picket lines of other unions.

After a month-long hiatus, negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP resumed on September 20. The presence of executive leaders was intended to underscore their dedication to reaching an agreement. On Thursday evening, sources revealed that some last-minute concerns arose regarding what the management side perceived as new negotiation points raised by the WGA. This led to extended discussions, concluding around 7:30 p.m.

Plans for a third day of negotiations were confirmed shortly before the WGA's communication to its members at 9:45 p.m. PT. It remains uncertain whether the CEOs will reconvene at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks for a third day of bargaining.

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