The Writers Guild of America (WGA) released a new memo on Thursday providing further details on its stance regarding the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ (AMPTP) latest counterproposal in ongoing talks for a new contract.
The guild also provided some additional details of this past Tuesday’s meeting between the negotiating committee and several studio CEOs, including Disney chief Bob Iger and Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav.
“The companies’ counteroffer is neither nothing, nor nearly enough. We will continue to advocate for proposals that fully address our issues rather than accept half measures like those mentioned above and other proposals not listed here,” the memo to members read.
The WGA acknowledged that the latest AMPTP proposal saw the studios offer more than they did during the initial round of negotiations this past spring, and credited the “member power” demonstrated during the nearly four-month-long strike for the new offers.
But the guild still said that what was presented to them on Aug. 11 is “still in the typical AMPTP mode of seeming to give while limiting the actual gains.” As evidence, the WGA presented a bullet point list of key elements in the studio proposal along with why the negotiating committee feels it does not go far enough:
- In screen, they have proposed a second step but only for a statistically tiny category of screenwriters, excluding all but the first writers of original screenplays. They dismissed the concept of weekly pay.
- They have ceded selected – but insufficient – minimum terms for some-but not all-Appendix A writers in SVOD. For example, while comedy-variety is covered, game show writers, daytime writers, and all other Appendix A writers are not covered.
- In television, the companies have introduced the notion of an MBA guarantee of minimum staff size and duration. But the loopholes, limitations, and omissions in their modest proposal, too numerous to single out, make them effectively toothless.
- Teams of two writers would receive P&H contributions as individuals. But not teams of three or more.
- We have had real discussions and seen movement on their part regarding AI protections. But we are not yet where we need to be. As one example, they continue to refuse to regulate the use of our work to train AI to write new content for a motion picture.
- Finally, the companies say they have made a major concession by offering to allow six WGA staff to study limited streaming viewership data for the next three years, so we can return in 2026 to ask once again for a viewership-based residual. In the meantime, no writer can be told by the WGA about how well their project is doing, much less receive a residual based on that data.
The WGA also noted that several other elements of the AMPTP’s offer, including the annual percentage of minimum rate increases and residual/compensation increases for streaming and ad-supported video on demand, are the same as what was offered to the Directors Guild of America in its ratified contract as part of a pattern bargaining strategy.
With regards to its two-hour meeting with the CEOs on Tuesday, the WGA said that “though progress had been made, the language of the AMPTP’s offer was, as is typical of that body, a version of giving with one hand and taking back with the other.”
“We repeated what we have said since day one, that our demands come directly from the membership itself. They address the existential threats to the profession of writing and to our individual careers, all caused by changes to the business model implemented by the companies in the last seven to ten years,” the guild wrote. “
“We stressed that we could not and would not pick and choose among those threats; that we have not struck for nearly four months to half-save ourselves, nor are we leaving any sector of this Guild unprotected when we return to work,” the memo continued.
It was at the end of the meeting, as previously noted by AMPTP insiders, that the guild was informed that the studios would publicly release its Aug. 11 proposal for WGA members to read.
On social media and in interviews with TheWrap, writers have slammed that decision, interpreting it as an effort by the studios to sow division within the WGA membership and to damage the solidarity between Hollywood unions, whom have marched on picket lines together for months even as the strike has increased the financial strain on thousands of workers.
Despite the terse exchanges and the impasses that still remain between the two sides, the WGA says that it still plans to continue negotiations to get a deal done that will ensure financial sustainability for writers.
“In the last 36 hours the response from the membership is that you are undeterred by this latest tactic. Despite the AMPTP’s attempt at a detour around us, we remain committed to direct negotiations with the companies. That’s actually how a deal gets made and the strike ends. That will be good for the rest of the industry and the companies as well,” they wrote.
The full memo from the WGA negotiating committee can be read here.
For all of TheWrap’s strike coverage, click here.