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More Talks Sunday as WGA, Studios Reportedly Near End to Monthslong Strike

More Talks Sunday as WGA, Studios Reportedly Near End to Monthslong Strike

Hollywood writers and actors hold a union rally outside Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., on Aug. 22, 2023. The “National Day of Solidarity” rally drew an estimated 2,000 people supporting the ongoing strikes against major studios. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

City News Service

City News Service

9/24/2023

Updated: 9/24/2023

LOS ANGELES—Contract talks between the striking Writers Guild of America (WGA) and studio representatives are set to continue Sept. 24 as negotiations near what industry observers say is the “final phase” toward potentially ending a monthslong strike that has crippled the entertainment industry, according to multiple media reports.
The two sides met Saturday from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.—joined by attorneys who were said to be reviewing the language and “finer points” of what is expected to be a three-year contract.
Afterward, the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) issued a joint statement Saturday night announcing they would meet again Sunday, marking the fifth consecutive day of negotiations.
Representatives from the WGA and AMPTP met Wednesday for the first time since mid-August, and have continued to meet daily since then.
The so-called “Gang of Four” major studio bosses—Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Disney’s Bob Iger, Universal’s Donna Langley, and Warner Bros/Discovery’s David Zaslav, were present at the negotiations Friday and have continued to participate.
Deadline.com said Gov. Gavin Newsom has also been checking in by phone.
CNN reported that the four studio heads were no longer in the Sherman Oaks negotiating room by Saturday afternoon, possibly signaling major issues had been resolved.
Hollywood actors and writers picketed outside of Disney Studio as strikes continued in Burbank, Calif., on Sept 18, 2023. The Writers Guild of America expects to return to contract negotiations Wednesday with major studios and streaming services. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

Hollywood actors and writers picketed outside of Disney Studio as strikes continued in Burbank, Calif., on Sept 18, 2023. The Writers Guild of America expects to return to contract negotiations Wednesday with major studios and streaming services. (Jill McLaughlin/The Epoch Times)

Writers, who went on strike May 2, were joined on the picket line in July by the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union. There have been no known contract talks between the studios and SAG-AFTRA since that strike began.
Both unions are pushing for protections against the use of artificial intelligence and improvements in salary, particularly residuals for successful streaming programs.
With negotiations seemingly stalled earlier this month, the WGA negotiating team issued a statement suggesting some traditional Hollywood studios should break ranks with the AMPTP and reach a deal directly with the writers’ union. The WGA suggested it had spoken with some studio executives who believe a deal could be quickly struck.
“So, while the intransigence of the AMPTP structure is impeding progress, these behind-the-scenes conversations demonstrate there is a fair deal to be made that addresses our issues,” WGA negotiators said at the time. “We have made it clear that we will negotiate with one or more of the major studios, outside the confines of the AMPTP, to establish the new WGA deal.
“There is no requirement that the companies negotiate through the AMPTP. So, if the economic destabilization of their own companies isn’t enough to cause a studio or two or three to either assert their own self-interest inside the AMPTP, or to break away from the broken AMPTP model, perhaps Wall Street will finally make them do it.”
Writers on the picket line on the fourth day of the strike by the Writers Guild of America march past Netflix in Hollywood, Calif., on May 5, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Writers on the picket line on the fourth day of the strike by the Writers Guild of America march past Netflix in Hollywood, Calif., on May 5, 2023. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

The AMPTP, however, issued a statement of its own saying all of its members are committed to working within the alliance to reach a deal for all studios.
“The AMPTP member companies are aligned and are negotiating together to reach a resolution,” a statement from the alliance said. “Any suggestion to the contrary is false.
“Every member company of the AMPTP wants a fair deal for writers and actors and an end to the strikes, which are affecting not only our writer and actor colleagues, but also thousands of others across the industry. That is why the AMPTP has repeatedly put forward offers that address major priorities of the WGA, including a last round of offers on Aug. 17 and 18.”
The dispute over who should speak for the studios seemingly opened the door for the current negotiations.
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