Members of the striking Writers Guild of America voiced their frustrations about the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers’ latest attempts to resume negotiations following a meeting Friday that was designed to determine if there was a path forward. The guild informed members Friday — day 95 of the strike — that the talks with the group that represents the studios and streamers produced no agreement.
Included in the update to WGA members was the union’s summary of the issues both sides planned to bring back to the table when negotiations formally resume.
According to the Writers Guild memo, the AMPTP is seeking to use the deal that the Directors Guild of America agreed to earlier this summer as a template for shared issues like pay increases and expressed a willingness to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums — but not such core writer issues as the minimum size of writers’ rooms or success-based residuals, among other topics. (Read the WGA’s full update here.)
The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the AMPTP, which has yet to comment on the meeting.
“So many insulting and out-of-touch things were said in that meeting. Putting aside the supposedly complex issues … When it comes to ‘pattern’ issues, suggesting that we would take the same terms the DGA inexplicably took while we’re on a strike in its 4th month is preposterous,” wrote WGA member Dan Signer (Lopez vs. Lopez). The Directors Guild’s deal with the AMPTP, officially ratified by its membership June 23, has drawn the disapproval of writers who have felt the DGA made insufficient gains.
“The DGA got played so badly,” filmmaker Joe Russo (Nightmare Cinema) wrote, quoting the WGA’s Friday memo. Added screenwriter Trevor Munson: “Friendly negotiating tip: NEVER say the words ‘DGA deal’ again.”
SAG-AFTRA, the largest of Hollywood’s unions, went out on strike shortly after the DGA made its deal.
Rob Forman, a WGA board candidate and lot coordinator at Universal — which has seen its fair share of controversy during the nearly 100-day-old strike — responded to what he saw as a lack of movement by the AMPTP: “Starting to get the feeling that the AMPTP negotiators are not used to being told ‘no,’ not realizing that writers and actors are told no seven times a day before breakfast.”
The WGA also said in its missive Friday that should it agree to a deal with the AMPTP, it will allow members to remain on strike until SAG-AFTRA agrees to a deal of its own, writing: “We will also seek the right for individual WGA members to honor other unions’ picket lines as they have honored ours during this strike.”
That served as a rallying cry of sorts for writers, who found resolve in the guild’s determination and support for SAG-AFTRA. Many performers joined the WGA’s picket lines as SAG-AFTRA negotiated with the AMPTP before actually going on strike three weeks ago.
“WGA is not leaving anyone behind just so we can end the strike to make other people happy and still be in the same shithole we’ve been in. Breathe. We got this. Carol can go kick rocks. Her and bob ass haircut ain’t winning this,” wrote Unbraided writer-director Caroline Renard, one of the WGA’s many volunteer strike captains. Noted fellow strike captain Brittani Nichols (Abbott Elementary): “Writers don’t cross picket lines. Spread the word.”
Writer Steven DeKnight (Spartacus) said, “That email from the WGA negotiating committee is just the spinach we all need,” while WGA negotiating committee member Eric Haywood referenced a massive turnout with support from SAG-AFTRA on Friday that stopped traffic around Universal: “The studios really saw this happen today and thought they had the upper hand lol.”
And strike captain Helen Shang wrote, “Our union is fighting for the livelihood of the rank and file writer. Our union is asking for transparency, fairness, and non-exploitation of our work. Our union honored the media blackout. The AMPTP’s maneuvers tonight has solidified my resolve in our strike more than ever.”