Just hours before the WGA and the studios began scrupulous talks about a new global contact, the Alliance of Film and Television Producers decided to play nice, tough publicly.
“The AMPTP companies approach this negotiation and those to follow with the long-term health and stability of the industry as our priority,” the trade association led by Carol Lombardini said in a pre-negotiation salvo on Sunday. . “We are all partners in charting the future of our business together and fully committed to reaching a mutually beneficial agreement with each of our negotiating partners,” AMPTP continued.
“The goal is to keep production active so that we can all keep working and continue to bring consumers the best entertainment product available in the world,” they concluded in a not-so-subtle tone to the strike rumblings of the WGA lately. weeks.
With Ellen Stutzman as chief negotiator and former guild presidents David A. Goodman and Chris Keyser as co-chairs, the 25-person WGA will meet tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. with the studio team at WGA headquarters. ‘AMPTP in Sherman Oaks.
The Guild Requests Template, which WGA members recently approved by the widest margin ever (98.4% vs. 1.6%), outlines the Guild’s overall goals in negotiations. They include “significantly” increasing minimums in all areas; fight against “the abuse of mini-rooms”; increase in residues; and “standardized remuneration and residual terms for feature films, whether released theatrically or via streaming”.
If and when a tentative agreement is reached, the WGA West Board of Directors and the WGA East Council will then decide whether or not to recommend the agreement and send it to the membership for a ratification vote. of the contract.
However, that could be a long way off.
“We go into these discussions with no illusions,” a well-connected WGA member told Deadline. “A strike is not something to be taken lightly, but it shouldn’t be taken off the table, especially now,” the seasoned scribe added. The WGA last took to the picket lines in 2007-08 – a bitter strike that lasted 100 days.
Putting the stakes in a stark perspective, the guild’s FAQ website page outlines what happens if a deal isn’t reached before the current contract expires on May 1.
If it appears that an acceptable agreement cannot be reached, the Negotiating Committee may recommend to the WGA West Board of Directors and the WGA East Council that the members hold a strike authorization vote. If the WGAW Board of Directors and the WGAE Council agree with the Bargaining Committee, they will allow a membership vote. Other meetings of members may be held in connection with the vote. If a majority of members vote in favour, the WGAW Board and the WGAE Council, in consultation with the Bargaining Committee, have the power to call a strike after the contract expires. [on May 1]and there is no acceptable agreement.
“The WGA management can only call a strike after the members have authorized it and the current contract has expired. If a strike is called, members are prohibited from performing covered writing services for companies that do not have an agreement with the WGA. To show unity and resolve, writers picket and engage in other collective actions that help pressure AMPTP to improve its offering. Negotiations can continue during a strike.
If previous negotiations are any indication, there’s one thing both sides will likely agree on from the get-go: impose a media blackout on the talks. “Given the sensitive nature of these negotiation sessions, communications with members can sometimes be limited,” the guild also notes on its website’s frequently asked questions page.