As the WGA strike stretches through its fourth month, the guild confirmed it has engaged in constructive conversations with individual studios within the AMPTP, noting that the “standstill” in negotiations comes from the studios’ end.
“In the 130 days since the WGA strike began, the AMPTP has only offered one proposal to the WGA, on Aug. 11,” the guild wrote Friday afternoon in a message to its members obtained by TheWrap. “Since then, the companies have not moved off that proposal, even though the WGA in turn presented our own counterproposal to the AMPTP on Aug. 15. The current standstill is not a sign of the companies’ power, but of AMPTP paralysis.”
Despite the halt in talks — which WGA leadership attributes to “disparate business models and interests” — the guild shared that legacy studio executives have demonstrated a “desire and willingness to negotiate an agreement that adequately addresses writers’ issues” during individual discussions with the negotiating committee.
“One executive said they had reviewed our proposals, and though they did not commit to a specific deal, said our proposals would not affect their company’s bottom line and that they recognized they must give more than usual to settle this negotiation,” the memo read. “Another said they needed a deal badly. Those same executives — and others — have said they are willing to negotiate on proposals that the AMPTP has presented to the public as deal breakers. On every single issue we are asking for we have had at least one legacy studio executive tell us they could accommodate us.”
As a result of these somewhat hopeful conversations — which are not “surprising” to the guild given the “outsized economic impact of the strikes on the legacy companies” — the negotiating committee confirmed that “there is a fair deal to be made that addresses our issues.”
The WGA further clarified the guild’s position on negotiating with “one or more of the major studios, outside the confines of the AMPTP, to establish the new WGA deal,” and added that “there is no requirement that the companies negotiate through the AMPTP.”
“The companies inside the AMPTP who want a fair deal with writers must take control of the AMPTP process itself, or decide to make a deal separately,” the memo continued. “At that point, a resolution to the strike will be in reach.”
Until then, the guild warned that the AMPTP will aim to “sow doubt and internal guild dissension,” and cautioned striking members to keep their radar up when it comes to messages surrounding “the unreasonableness of your guild leadership” that might be delivered “through surrogates or the press.”
“We understand how painful this time is for everyone. We are all tired and hurting and scared. There is nothing wrong with saying so. The optimism for a return to negotiation has been met with a harsh reminder of how fraught this process can be,” the memo concluded. “We share the frustration with how long the companies are prolonging the strike, and remain committed to negotiating a fair resolution as fast as possible.”