After an eventful week in which members of the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers traded barbs following the publication of the studios’ counteroffer, there are currently no talks scheduled for either side to return to the negotiating table.
According to sources on both sides, there is no timetable yet for when negotiations between the group representing Hollywood’s studios and streamers and the Writers Guild’s negotiating committee will start talking again. Representatives from the AMPTP and WGA declined to comment on the status of the negotiations.
The halt comes after the AMPTP made its first counteroffer public on Aug. 22 since the studios’ initial response to the WGA’s original proposal in May, just days after the strike began. The publication of the proposal – which was dated August 11 but was sent publicly this Tuesday – includes gains in residuals and AI protection, and was labeled by the WGA as a ploy “not to negotiate, but to hinder us with the counter-offer known as not being ‘almost enough’.
The guild said in a memo to members on Aug. 24 that it responded with its own counter-proposal on Aug. 15, and that further negotiations took place in the days that followed. On Tuesday of this week, WGA leaders met with the AMPTP as well as CEOs from Disney, Netflix, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery, with the union noting that the message it received was that the August 11 proposal would be the “first of the companies.” and the only counteroffer” since the strike began in May.
In making his counteroffer – which WGA members criticized as an “unforced error” – AMPTP president Carol Lombardini said the offer “meets the priority concerns expressed by the writers” and was a doubling of the group’s wish to end the strike.
It is worth noting that the WGA has not released the details of its proposals since the union fleshed out its proposals following the May 2 strike.
Sources on the studio side said the proverbial ball is in the court of the WGA and Lombardini won’t let the stalled talks continue for long if she doesn’t hear from the writers.
Sources said the AMPTP planned to make its offer to the WGA public on Aug. 18, but delayed doing so because insiders believed the union would convey the Aug. 11 offer to its members. The WGA said that despite the progress made on the offer, it was the equivalent of “giving with one hand and taking back with the other” and called releasing the proposal a “tactic in the middle of an ongoing negotiation.”
The barbs from both sides began hours after members of various unions gathered at Disney for a National Day of Solidarity organized by SAG-AFTRA that closed thousands of streets near Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. The meeting featured speakers from the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, Teamsters, Directors Guild of America and other unions.