The Writers Guild of America responded on Tuesday to the latest proposal from the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance, but any hopes of an easy resolution to the 106-day strike were quickly dashed.
According to sources familiar with the talks, the WGA has flexed a little on some clauses. But union negotiators did not make the important concessions the studio side was looking for in response to his own offer.
The union continued to stand by its proposal for a minimum staff size for television writers, even though it offered to lower the minimum for one writer. But the WGA was unimpressed with AMPTP’s offer to give exhibitors the power to set up to a certain minimum, which would increase based on the production budget.
By no means is this the only sticking point. The two sides remain at odds over items across the board, including hangover flow and a higher minimum level for TV writers’ producers.
Multiple studio sources were optimistic that the latest offering of AMPTP would be a breakthrough in the talks. But WGA negotiators advised caution, warning members not to trust studio leaks that indicated a deal was at hand.
The two sides returned to the negotiating table last Friday for the first time since the strike began on May 2.
As first reported by Bloomberg, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Disney CEO Bob Iger have taken a personal interest in seeking to end the strike.
The WGA wants to tie the remnants of the live broadcast to the popularity of a show, but the creators of the live broadcast have adamantly refused to share that viewership data. However, a recent bid from AMPTP included a proposal to share the number of hours watched for each show, even though writers’ compensation would not be tied to that number. The WGA continues to stand by its original proposal, raising questions about whether “hours” is the correct measure to use, rather than opinions.
The WGA was not expected to jump in on the recent offer of AMPTP, as it was generally understood that hard bargaining still had to be done before a deal could be reached. But the studio side hoped that both sides would be closer to an agreement than they are.
The WGA is also seeking a provision allowing its members to honor other unions’ picket ranks. The clause would mean that many writers would likely not return to work until the SAG-AFTRA union strike had been resolved, as the two unions made an effort to express mutual solidarity.
AMPTP appears unwilling to accept this proposal, which was first submitted on August 4.
The WGA also wants assurances that the union health plan will continue funding despite the strike, and that members will not lose health coverage because of the strike.
Matt Donnelly contributed to this story.
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