Writers' Strike Talks: How They Broke Down And What's Ahead

Writers' Strike
Writers' Strike

It's week six of the Writers Guild strike and talks have totally broken down. Now the producers association, the AMPTP, has walked away from negotiations, squelching hopes of a quick resolution before the holidays. Here's what happened: The AMPTP gave the writers a revised proposal on Friday afternoon, including a slightly more generous deal for the writers on streaming of movies.

But the WGA took a look at the "revised" proposal and said it was basically just the same. Apparently, the real controversy came when the AMPTP demanded negotiations continue, demanding that the WGA commit to working, crossing picket lines, should the Screen Actors Guild go on strike. The AMPTP also pushed the writers to stop insisting that reality TV and animation be included in guild jurisdiction.

When the WGA went to figure out what to do about this ultimatum, the producers say they sent mediator Bryan Lourd, the head of talent agency CAA, to check out how the writers would respond. Then it becomes a he-said she-said debate over what the writers said in response to the ultimatum, but it didn't make the AMPTP happy. The producers said they're breaking off negotiations, and they won't resume negotiations until the WGA agrees to take off the table those issues the AMPTP had mentioned in its ultimatum.

Now the WGA is saying they're willing to negotiate and is hyping how bad it is that the AMPTP walked out. Their press release ends with this line: "We remain ready and willing to negotiate, no matter how intransigent our bargaining partners are, because the stakes are simply too high. We were prepared to counter their proposal tonight, and when any of them are ready to return to the table, we're here, ready to make a fair deal."

The AMPTP issued their own statement blaming it on the writers--writing "Quite frankly, we're puzzled and disheartened by an ongoing WGA negotiating strategy that seems designed to delay or derail talks rather than facilitate an end to this strike."

Needless to say, angry press releases are flying back and forth and now that the mediator Bryan Lourd has gotten stuck in the middle, I really don't see how the two sides are going to sort this out and break the standoff.

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