The union representing striking writers said it’s evaluating a new labor proposal from Hollywood studios following a three-month-long standoff. The Writers Guild of America said it received the counterproposal on Friday from the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers, representing the studios. It will respond next week “after deliberation.” The WGA is still urging members to continue showing up at picket lines.
The AMPTP’s latest offer follows weeks of intense talks that have reached an impasse over compensation, minimum staffing of writer rooms, and residual payments in the streaming era, among other issues. The writers’ strike began May 2 and was joined by the Screen Actors Guild in July, shutting down production of scripted TV and films and causing ripple effects across the entertainment industry.
Writers, represented by the WGA, seek a better minimum wage in all media work areas, more money for new and existing series, increased residual payments, appropriate TV series-writing compensation from preproduction through postproduction, and improvements to pension and health benefits. They’re also seeking more flexibility in how their work is used – including the ability to self-publish scripts, make them available online, and share them with others.
The AMPTP demands that the union agree to a new contract by June 30, when their current one expires. Earlier this year, nearly 98 percent of voting members approved a measure authorizing their leaders to call a strike if no deal is reached by the deadline.
If the writers and actors continue to walk off the job, it would be the first time in six decades that two unions have staged simultaneous strikes within the same industry. It could also set a dangerous precedent for future negotiations in the entertainment industry unless a compromise can be found.
Despite the ongoing writers’ strike, some physical productions have continued to shoot – mainly in the form of pre-filmed content like news and reality shows. But the union says insurance companies are now refusing to bond indie film projects without a signed agreement from the writer, and many of these shoots will be forced to press pause.
If all the productions currently in the pipeline can’t resume, it could lead to significant backlogs and delays for both upcoming television and movies and a loss of jobs for the more than 175,000 members of SAG-AFTRA who are also on strike. The unions’ contract negotiations are separate, but SAG-AFTRA’s pact with the AMPTP will expire on June 30. And just last week, its members voted to authorize their leadership to strike in the event of no deal. The entertainment community is stepping up to support the strikers: you can help, too. You can donate to the Entertainment Community Fund, which provides “supporting programs that foster stability and resiliency for performing arts and entertainment professionals throughout their careers.” Or, you can show your solidarity by joining them at a rally or by picketing.