US: Writers, entertainment producers' groups meet two months into writers' strike; writers' says 'no agreement'

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Wednesday, August 9, 2023

WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikers in June.
Image: ufcw770.

Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) officials Friday held their first meeting, in California, US, after the beginning of a writers' strike on May 2, with participants speaking on a framework for negotiations and "a preview of the issues each side intends to bring back to the table upon resumption." The WGA's representatives said in a memo to unionists there was "no agreement" as "the AMPTP said they needed to consult with their member studios".

The AMPTP declined to comment to IndieWire.

The WGA claimed the AMPTP planned to propose the parties replicate, on issues common to both disputes, the AMPTP agreement with the Directors Guild of America in June. The WGA has rejected this idea.

The WGA memo said Lombardini "stated they were willing to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums – and willing to talk about AI – but that they were not willing to engage on the preservation of the writers' room, or success-based residuals."

The AMPTP has rejected the WGA's proposals on the writers' room question as a "hiring quota".

"She did not indicate willingness to address screenwriter issues, Appendix A issues, and many of the other proposals that remain on our list," the WGA continued.

The WGA memo said if it and the AMPTP come to agreement first, it planned to let members continue striking until actors' union SAG-AFTRA's dispute also concluded.

After the meeting, the WGA said the AMPTP demanded a media blackout on it but leaked word to industry magazines.

Alliance President Carol Lombardini, the AMPTP's top representative at the meeting, initially said it should not occur; among them Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra, studio officials pressed her to go forward with talks, according to a Friday morning piece in Puck.