The Writers Guild of America and studios and streamers have finally set a date to meet: Aug. 4.
“The AMPTP, through Carol Lombardini, reached out to the WGA today and requested a meeting this Friday to discuss negotiations,” the WGA negotiating committee said in a statement to members on Tuesday. “We’ll be back in communication with you sometime after the meeting with further information. As we’ve said before, be wary of rumors. Whenever there is important news to share, you will hear it directly from us.”
The location of the meeting between representatives for the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group that negotiates on behalf of major entertainment companies, was not disclosed.
Said an AMPTP spokesperson in a statement, “We remain committed to finding a path to mutually beneficial deals with both unions,” referring to both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, which has also gone on strike.
It’s the first step in what may be a long process to bring the two sides together. The WGA has been on strike for around 14 weeks after contract talks broke down in May over a multitude of issues. The Guild has stated that the producers refused to budge on instituting viewership-based residuals, regulating artificial intelligence and establishing minimum staffing numbers. The two sides also couldn’t come to an agreement on issues like guaranteeing a second “step” in screenwriters’ deals and allowing weekly minimums for WGA members in postproduction, according to a document the union circulated in early May.
Meanwhile, the AMPTP has explained that the A.I. issue “requires a lot more discussion, which we’ve committed to doing” while the group called the minimum staffing proposal “a hiring quota that is incompatible with the creative nature of our industry.” It also pushed back on the WGA’s claims that Hollywood companies have “created a gig economy inside a union workforce.”
Since the writers’ talks broke off, performers’ union SAG-AFTRA called its own strike after its three-year contract expired and the two parties did not reach a deal on a successor pact: The disagreement centered on issues including A.I. and a proposal to give streaming project casts a cut of subscriber revenue. Meanwhile, on June 23 the Directors Guild of America ratified an agreement with employers.
In the DGA’s talks, the union broached some issues that cross over with the WGA’s: The union’s latest contract contains some restrictions on A.I. for instance, and establishes a new foreign residuals formula based on a platform’s number of international subscribers.
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