WGA Says It Will Resume Talks Once AMPTP Revises Proposal

Two sides broke off contact talks last week

Last Updated: April 1, 2017 @ 8:11 AM

The Writers Guild of America says it is ready to resume negotiations on April 10 once the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) revises its proposal, which the WGA said failed to “address our essential economic issues.”

“We are ready to return to the bargaining table to hear a revised proposal from the AMPTP that addresses the Guild’s core issues,” David J. Young, executive director of WGAW said in a letter. “Alternatively, in the absence of such a constructive proposal from you, we are prepared to respond with a package that addresses the inadequacies of your last offer.”

The two sides broke off contract talks last week, and the WGA has since initiated a strike authorization vote among its members.

In the letter sent on Thursday following votes by the boards of both guild branches to ask members to authorize a strike, AMPTP President Carol Lombardini asked the executive directors of the WGA West and East, David Young and Lowell Peterson, respectively, to “return to the bargaining table,” after the guild broke off negotiations late last week.

Members of WGA West and WGA East had been in the midst of an initial two-week bargaining period with the AMPTP over a new contract for film and TV writers. The current contract expires May 1.

The WGA and AMPTP successfully negotiated contracts in 2010 and 2013 without resorting to a strike. But the previous negotiation resulted in a 100-day strike in 2007-08.

In a prior statement to TheWrap, a spokesperson for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said: “The WGA broke off negotiations at an early stage in the process in order to secure a strike vote rather than directing its efforts at reaching an agreement at the bargaining table. Keeping the industry working is in everyone’s best interests, and we are ready to return to negotiations when they are.”

A letter to WGA members on Friday from its leadership argued that producers earned record profits of $51 billion in 2016 while the average salary for TV writer-producers fell 23 percent without being offset by additional compensation via script fees and residuals. Other complaints included a refusal by AMPTP for a new policy on family leave, an increase in the residual formula for video on-demand, and changes in script fees for staff writers.

The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) is a labor union composed of the thousands of writers who write the content for television shows, movies, news programs, documentaries, animation, and Internet and new media.

See the full letter below.

March 31 , 2017

Dear Carol,

Thank you for your letter.

On Wednesday, March 23, the WGA made further cuts to its initial list of demands, reducing the economic cost of the package by almost 50%. Late Thursday, the Companies presented a Comprehensive Package Proposal that failed to address our essential economic issues. We made clear that evening that the guild rejected your proposal.

We are ready to return to the bargaining table to hear a revised proposal from the AMPTP that addresses the Guild’s core issues. Alternatively, in the absence of such a constructive proposal from you, we are prepared to respond with a package that addresses the inadequacies of your last offer.

I suggest that the parties meet from April10th -14th and seek to finalize a new agreement. I look forward to hearing from you.