August 03, 2023

City News Service


Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America and major studios are set to meet Friday, August 4, to discuss negotiations, the first talks since Hollywood writers strike began May 2, the union's negotiating committee informed its members.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reached out to the union to request the meeting, according to an email from the union's negotiating committee to the union's members.

“We'll be back in communication with you sometime after the meeting with further information,'' the email said. “As we've said before, be wary of rumors. Whenever there is important news to share, you will hear it directly from us.''

The WGA is pushing for improvements on a variety of fronts, notably for higher residual pay for streaming programs that have larger viewership, rather than the existing model that pays a standard rate regardless of a show's success.

The union is also calling for industry standards on the number of writers assigned to each show, increases in foreign streaming residuals and regulations preventing the use of artificial intelligence technology to write or rewrite any literary material.

The AMPTP, which represents Hollywood studios, networks and streaming services, has pushed back against some of the WGA's demands, particularly around its calls for mandatory staffing and employment guarantees on programs.

AMPTP has also pushed back against WGA demands around streaming residuals, saying the guild's offer would increase rates by 200%.

The use of artificial intelligence has emerged as a major topic. The WGA says it wants a ban on the use of AI, and contends the AMPTP has refused to even negotiate the issue. The AMPTP said the issue raises “important creative and legal questions'' and requires “a lot more discussion, which we've committed to doing.''

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing 160,000 actors, went on strike July 14, joining striking Writers Guild of America members. The double-barreled strike is the first time in 63 years both unions have walked off the job simultaneously.

The SAG-AFTRA negotiating team issued a statement in July outlining the key issues in the dispute and insisting that the AMPTP “wouldn't meaningfully engage on the most critical issues.''

The SAG-AFTRA list included the core demands of general wage increases, protections against the use of actor images through artificial intelligence, boosts in compensation for successful streaming programs and improvements in health and retirement benefits.

Category: News