WGA: 'No Agreement' With AMPTP After Meeting
Guild alleges studios were 'leaking to the press'; read full email to members
Friday night update: In an email update sent to Writers Guild membership around 9:30 p.m. PT, the union’s negotiating committee said that it had come to “no agreement” with the AMPTP on various issues after its much anticipated meeting earlier this afternoon, and accused the studios of leaking to the trades.
During the meeting between WGA chief negotiator Ellen Stutzman and general counsel Tony Segall and the AMPTP pres and chief negotiator Carol Lombardini, both parties discussed a “potential negotiation protocol,” a “preview of the issues” that would be revived in the negotiating room, and press blackouts, according to the guild.
But the WGA said there was “no agreement on these items, because the AMPTP said they needed to consult with their member studios before moving forward.”
The WGA had not responded to our requests for comment after the meeting. In its missive to membership, leadership said that it had not planned to offer a detailed update, but alleged the studios were “leaking to the press” [Editor’s note: not us, apparently] and felt compelled to offer a play-by-play of the meeting after all.
Lombardini was “willing to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums — and willing to talk about AI — but that they were not willing to engage on the preservation of the writers’ room, or success-based residuals. She did not indicate willingness to address screenwriter issues, Appendix A issues, and many of the other proposals that remain on our list,” reads the WGA email.
The AMPTP did not immediately respond to request for comment.
According to the WGA, Stutzman also added that there were other issues that had arisen over the course of the strike, including “health care benefit extension and additional plan funding, reinstatement of striking writers, and arbitration of disputes arising during the strike” — and that those would also need to be addressed.
The negotiating committee concluded that the supposed leaks were “confirmation that the AMPTP playbook continues.”
The meeting marked the first time the union and the studios had met in three months since the strike began on May 2. We are now on Day 95 of the WGA strike and Day 22 of the SAG-AFTRA strike.
Here’s the full message to members, below:
Ellen Stutzman and Tony Segall met with Carol Lombardini and AMPTP staff this afternoon for what Carol stated was a confidential sidebar to discuss resuming negotiations for a new MBA. Topics included – at the AMPTP’s insistence – press blackouts. Also discussed was a potential negotiation protocol and a preview of the issues each side intends to bring back to the table upon resumption.
As of now, there is no agreement on these items, because the AMPTP said they needed to consult with their member studios before moving forward.
Our intention after the confidential meeting was to send a simple email to you all letting you know we would get back to you when there was more specific information about resuming negotiations.
However, before the negotiating committee even had a chance to meet, our communications department began hearing from the trades asking for comments on studio-leaked rumors of the contents of the confidential meeting. This is after the AMPTP spent much of the meeting emphasizing the need for a press blackout.
Since the studios are leaking to the press we need to let you know what was said in the meeting.
First, Carol informed us that the DGA deal would be the deal on any pattern issues.
She stated they were willing to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums – and willing to talk about AI – but that they were not willing to engage on the preservation of the writers’ room, or success-based residuals. She did not indicate willingness to address screenwriter issues, Appendix A issues, and many of the other proposals that remain on our list.
On behalf of the Guild, Ellen reiterated the expectation that all the fundamental issues over which writers have been striking these past three months would be addressed in this new contract, and that no segment of the membership would be left behind.
Ellen made clear that, in addition to a comprehensive response from the AMPTP on our proposals in all work areas, we will need to address issues arising from the strike, including a health care benefit extension and additional plan funding, reinstatement of striking writers, and arbitration of disputes arising during the strike. We will also seek the right for individual WGA members to honor other unions’ picket lines as they have honored ours during this strike.
Carol’s response – something she repeated three times during the meeting – echoes what was written in the AMPTP press statement yesterday: “People just want to get back to work.”
We agree, with the caveat that those conditions that have made writers’ jobs increasingly untenable must first be addressed.
Your committee remains willing to engage with the companies and resume negotiations in good faith to make a fair deal for all writers, even with this early confirmation that the AMPTP playbook continues. But rest assured, this committee does not intend to leave anyone behind, or make merely an incremental deal to conclude this strike.
WGA NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE