The WGA and Studios to Resume Negotiations Next Week

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) will resume negotiations next week after a month of no talks. The two sides last negotiated on August 18 to resolve the strike that began on May 2.

In a statement, the AMPTP said, “On Wednesday, September 13, the WGA reached out to the AMPTP and asked for a meeting to move negotiations forward. We have agreed and are working to schedule a meeting next week. Every member company of the AMPTP is committed and eager to reach a fair deal, and to working together with the WGA to end the strike.”

The Current WGA Strike Is the Second-Longest Strike in Its History

Writers Guild of America West Building e1694794363275
Image Credit: Wiki Commons, by Amanda Scott – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0.

As reported by Variety, “The strike began on May 2, and will become the longest in WGA history if it makes it to October 4. SAG-AFTRA also went on strike on July 14, marking the first time in 63 years that both unions have been on strike at the same time.” In an email to its members, the WGA confirmed, “The WGA and AMPTP are in the process of scheduling a time to get back in the room.”

The WGA wants a streaming residual based on the number of views of each show. The union also requests a mandatory minimum number of writers per show. The AMPTP rejected both of these demands.

In recent days, both Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher resumed production on their respective talk shows, which drew strong criticism from the WGA. In an Instagram post, the WGA wrote, “Bill Maher’s decision to go back on the air while his Guild is on strike is disappointing. If he goes forward with his plan, he needs to honor more than ‘the spirit of the strike.’ Bill Maher is obligated as a WGA member to follow the strike rules and not perform any writing services. It is difficult to imagine how Real Time with Bill Maher can go forward without a violation of WGA strike rules taking place. WGA will be picketing this show.”

As reported by Variety, The Drew Barrymore Show writer Cristina Kinon said it's not too late for Barrymore to reverse her decision and stand in solidarity with her writers. “It is frustrating, because it will prolong the strike, and we just want it to end,” said Kinon. “I don’t see how what I do is different from writing for a scripted show, or writing feature films—which I also do. We’re all trying to make a career out of writing, and the AMPTP is trying to slowly chip away at that. And they wouldn’t have anything without writers; writers are the seed of all of creation.”

The Associated Press reports that California lawmakers proposed a bill to allow striking writers and actors to apply for unemployment benefits. It's unclear if Governor Gavin Newsom will sign the bill.