December 3, 2023

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The WGA and AMPTP will meet again on Friday as deal talks heat up

The WGA and AMPTP will meet again on Friday as deal talks heat up

The Writers Guild of America and major Hollywood studios meet for a third day of bargaining on Friday, as Hollywood grapples with rising hopes for a deal balanced with concerns that key issues in the nearly five-month-old strike battle remain in dispute.

“WGA and [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] “We met to negotiate today and will meet again tomorrow,” the WGA said in a negotiation update letter sent to members late Thursday. “Your negotiating committee appreciates all the messages of solidarity and support we have received in the past few days, and is asking as many of you as possible to come out to the picket lines tomorrow.”

The WGA has been suspended since May 2. Industry hopes of resolving a strike that is close to surpassing the union’s longest-ever work stoppage rose Thursday as rumors emerged throughout the creative community that a deal between studios and writers would come as soon as possible. evening. In fact, sources close to the situation say that important issues and points of agreement are still on the table. In short, the union has not yet indicated that the items under discussion as of Wednesday are sufficient to close the deal and end the withdrawal heading into Day 144 on Friday.

Optimism about a settlement was fueled by the presence of CEOs and senior leaders of four of Hollywood’s largest employers: Disney (Bob Iger), Netflix (Ted Sarandos), NBCUniversal (Donna Langley), and Warner Bros. Discovery (David Zaslav). . The involvement of executives appears to be accelerating the back-and-forth between management and workers over solutions to the most divisive points of the contract, sources noted. The two sides are believed to have moved toward a compromise on the WGA’s request for a new minimum staffing formula to be implemented for writers on episodic television shows.

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Other issues discussed Thursday include the complex problem of regulating the use of generative artificial intelligence in writing for the screen, as well as the WGA’s push to add the right of its members to respect strikes and picket lines of other unions to its master film and television contract. .

The WGA and AMPTP resumed negotiations on September 20 for the first time in nearly a month. Executive leaders had hoped to signal their commitment to closing a deal by showing up in person. On Thursday evening, multiple sources said a bit of last-minute stalemate emerged over what the management side viewed as new deal points raised by the WGA, which kept the CEOs in the room longer than expected, until about 7:30 p.m.

Plans for a third day of talks were confirmed shortly before the WGA sent its letter to members at 9:45pm PT. It is unclear whether the CEOs will return to AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks for a third day of bargaining.