Leaders of the Writers Guild of America are saying Monday night that the guild was forced to go on strike at midnight PT because proposals from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on key contract issues “fell on deaf ears.”
Money is a big issue – the guild is seeking a new contract that would increase pay and benefits to $429 million over three years, but says studio only offered $86 million, But preserving writing as a profession is a much bigger issue and goes to the heart of the strike.
shortly in a phone interview with Deadline after contract negotiations broke down, wga West President Meredith Stiehm, and WGA Negotiating Committee Co-Chairs David A. Goodman and Chris Keizer – the latter two former WGA West presidents – described how the companies “stonewalled” the Guild from the very beginning of talks on the “constellation” proposal that Guild members are seeking.
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Stiehm said of the bargaining sessions, “I’m just amazed at the conversations we didn’t have.” “We’ve been here talking to them for six weeks and those core proposals were literally ignored. And we made it very clear to them that 98% of our membership is demanding that we fight for something different; not only The normal conversation we are having. We told them from the very beginning that there is a threat to the existence of the members and they need to take it seriously. And it fell on deaf ears. When we told them the plight of the writers and how wrong happened, and they needed to fix it, they just didn’t listen to us. And it didn’t look like they were listening.”
Goodman said, “The biggest problem we faced in this negotiation was that the companies would not engage on some of the major issues that affect an author’s ability to sustain a career.” “So we were too far along that companies would not engage with us on those topics, so in that sense we were too far along. There were other areas of dialogue in which we were able to negotiate, but the companies blocked us on very important issues. They won’t talk about them.
WGA says issues AMPTP What it was not prepared to discuss, the Guild says, include minimum staffing, the establishment of viewer-based streaming residuals, the use of artificial intelligence, and full pension and health contributions for the writing teams.
AMPTP said in a statement tonight that “the primary sticking points are ‘mandatory staffing,’ and ‘duration of employment’—guild propositions that would require a company to have a show with a certain number of writers for a specified period of time, whether it was required or not. “
See WGA’s proposal and AMPTP’s proposal Here,
AMPTP also said it was “willing to engage in discussions with the WGA in an effort to break this impasse,” but union leaders called it “outrageous.”
Asked if the Guild is willing to continue discussions, Goodman said: “We are willing to talk about the issues that we have raised, but they are not willing to engage with us on those issues. So, when They say they are ready to talk, then they are being disingenuous. They want us to stay in AMPTP, but they are not ready to negotiate on our core proposals.”
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Keyser agreed. “They said, ‘Yeah. If you drop everything you want to talk about, we’ll talk to you about whatever we want to talk about.'”
“He literally said it,” Goodman said. “‘If you drop all these offers, we can talk about the rest.’ And we won’t do that. We’re negotiating a deal here. We’ve made a bunch of initial offers that the companies will not consider under any circumstances. They literally told us that we have to drop them all. This is not a conversation.
With regard to minimum staffing, Keyser said: “Yeah, they say it’s one of the things they’re not going to do, and I know they highlighted it because they think it’s to their advantage.” But the truth is that minimum staffing is just one proposition that is part of a set of propositions across all of those fields that go into the question: Can writers have a steady, steady income for a year and throughout their careers? ?We are looking at a world in which they are slowly eroding the number of weeks we work; the number of writers who work those weeks, and writers are not paid for the value they create. We do. We can’t let that happen. They won’t talk to us about AI; they won’t talk to us about guaranteed weeks of work for comedy/variety writers; they won’t talk to us about the fact that The effect of the pre-Greenlight mini-room meant that writers worked for a very short number of weeks and then they got rid of most of the writers for the rest of the television show. They will not talk about any of these things.
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“They won’t talk about writers who work in production, because that’s through the writing process. They’re completely closed-off about that. And we assume they’re closed-off about that because it’s their The intention is to gradually eliminate our weekly jobs and create a very limited kind of independent workforce in all areas of business. And we told them from the beginning that this is not going to happen in this negotiation.