The Writers Guild of America denied any connection with a memo that reportedly urged the guild’s strike captains to be ready to go to the picket lines on Tuesday morning.
Variety reported that the memo instructed, “If you’ve left anything great in your office on a studio lot, consider packing it up on Monday – just in case.” But a spokesman for the WGA told TheWrap that “the Writers Guild has not issued any memos to members or updates on the status of negotiations.”
Talks resumed Sunday between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The current contract between the WGA and AMPTP is set to expire at midnight PT on Monday but an extension could occur for negotiations to continue. If no agreement is reached, WGA members may hit the picket lines as early as 12:01 Tuesday morning.
Negotiations between the writers and producers began on March 13 but stalled two weeks later. The two sides returned to the table this week after the WGA received approval from 96 percent of their members to authorize a strike if a new deal couldn’t be struck. Among the sticking points between the WGA and AMPTP include a new pay formula for writers on short-order TV series, a refurbishment of the WGA’s health plan, and compensation for new media.
The health plan has been a particular point of contention, as studios are looking for millions in cuts and for writers to cover more of the costs. The WGA is defending the plan, saying it provides a financial safety net for writers when they go for months without getting attached to a project.
The memo that originally circulated also noted, “There is a press black-out until this round of negotiations is over.”