AMPTP Offers More Money for WGA Health Plan as Contract Negotiation Deadline Looms

Talks between writers and producers will resume Monday before the current contract expires on Tuesday

Last Updated: April 30, 2017 @ 8:41 PM

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has offered the Writers Guild of America more than they were asking for in terms of their ailing health plan.

An individual with knowledge of the negotiations told TheWrap that the WGA was asking for $85 million for the ailing health plan, but AMPTP offered to increase employer contributions during Sunday’s negotiations. This is up from their previous offer of $60 million. The individual did not disclose a precise amount.

Talks will resume Monday before the current contract expires on Tuesday.

WGA and AMPTP began negotiating a new contract in early March, but those talks were discontinued March 24 when agreement could not be reached, and the WGA’s negotiating committee called for a strike authorization vote. On April 25, members overwhelmingly voted in favor of striking if an agreement cannot be reached, and the WGA returned to the negotiating table the same day.

Among the demands are increased compensations, stronger economic and workplace protections, and paid family leave for writers.

The main point of contention cited by the writers guild is that “the average pay for writer-producers working in television declined 23 percent over the last two years alone,” although they still do the same amount of work as before, according to a letter guild leaders sent WGA members in February. The letter said the decline is “driven by the growth of short order series with 13 or fewer episodes…” and writers “often work just as many weeks on a short order series as they did on a traditional 22-episode series, but are paid fewer episodes.”

If producers and writers fail to reach an agreement by midnight May 1, a temporary extension of the old contract may be enacted at 12:01 May 2 in order to allow talks to continue, two individuals with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap on Thursday.

Such extensions of talks are not uncommon. In 2014, for instance, SAG-AFTRA and Hollywood producers agreed to a 24-hour extension less than an hour before the existing pact ran out in order to prolong negotiations and avoid a strike. Both sides have said they are committed to achieving a fair contract.

A representative for the WGA has not yet responded to TheWrap’s request for comment.