Hollywood writers have offered mostly solid support to their leaders amid the recessed negotiations with studios.
About 400 members of the Writers Guild of America West attended a low-key but intense session Monday evening at the Sheraton Universal hotel and indicated that they agree with the Guild’s decision to negotiate past the May 2 contract expiration.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume Wednesday between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. The talks broke off last Wednesday with the WGA rejecting the AMPTP’s three-year offer and proposing a one-year deal along the lines of SAG’s one-year agreement earlier this year.
Monday’s session, chaired by WGA West Daniel Petrie Jr., reviewed the details of the most recent offers, along with the ramifications of the contract expiration — notably, the elimination of the contract’s no strike-no lockout provisions. Those who attended said they generally backed the tactic of offering a one-year deal with relatively small increases as a way of removing the potential disruption of a work stoppage. But others said that the Guild needs to take a hard-line position on the issue of DVD residuals, which would not be increased under the Guild’s proposed one-year deal.
The AMPTP has not rejected the one-year deal, but has expressed a strong preference for a three-year deal. However, the Guild’s leaders have indicated that the AMPTP’s proposal falls far short of a deal that the members would ratify given that it has no increases for DVD or video-on-demand.
One member noted that the turnout was about half the number that had come to a membership meeting in 2001 during a break in negotiations.
“I think that a lot of people feel somewhat resigned to not getting a particularly good deal this time around,” he added.
The meeting was open only to the 8,000 WGA West members.