The town should have plenty to talk about by the time the WGA-AMPTP talks resume Tuesday.
The PR war over the WGA-AMPTP negotiations has amped up; the AMPTP’s latest move on Friday afternoon was to release a letter to its members along with a review of the current state of its proposal to the WGA. Here’s the letter; the “AMPTP Fact Sheet” is after the jump.
— Dave McNary
To the Companies represented by the AMPTP:
On behalf of all of our member companies, the AMPTP has proposed a New Economic Partnership to the WGA. This New Partnership includes bold moves by the AMPTP in several areas of new media, including streaming, content made for new media and programming delivered over digital broadcast channels. The New Economic Partnership is summarized in the attached one-page document.
The New Economic Partnership will deliver more than $130 million in additional compensation above and beyond the more than $1.3 billion working writers already receive each year. This could mean an increase up to $31,000 over the 3-year life of the contract for working writers which would be on top of the current average writer’s compensation of more than $200,000 a year. With these improvements, writers remain among the highest paid employees in America. This more than $130 million increase is believed to be one of the largest compensation increases of any major union contract negotiated in recent American history.
In addition, our proposed New Economic Partnership included increases in producer contributions to the WGA health and pension plans. This increase helps assure that writers will continue to enjoy the security of these well funded plans, which offer an array of benefits to participants that are among the most generous of any in the nation.
During our negotiations on Thursday, November 29th, the WGA asked for a halt in talks until Tuesday, December 4th to give the WGA time to study our New Economic Partnership. While we strongly preferred to continue discussions without any interruption, we also understood the WGA’s need to take the time necessary to process our groundbreaking New Economic Partnership. We therefore were disappointed to see such a quick and decisive attack on the plan that they had asked for so much time to study. We look forward to resuming talks on December 4th.
Between now and Tuesday, we hope that the discussion about our proposed New Economic Partnership will focus on the facts. For example, the allegation that the New Economic Partnership and its groundbreaking proposals to extend and increase payments and jurisdiction for the writers in three wholly new areas of new media is somehow a “rollback” does nothing to advance a substantive dialogue over these issues, especially given that the WGA asserted for weeks that we were unwilling to share in new media revenues (despite, for example, our ongoing payments for digital downloading).
Simply put, a proposal that increases working writers compensation by a total of $130 million is in fact a very big “roll” forward.
We remain confident that there is common ground to be found between the two sides. Our proposal for a New Economic Partnership is meant to help find that common ground, and we hope that the WGA’s leadership will thoughtfully consider both our Partnership proposal and the increasingly severe economic impacts of this strike before the WGA comes back from the bargaining hiatus that it requested and gets down to work again on December 4th. We believe to generate the necessary momentum to reach a deal, we must be at the table talking.
As we await the WGA’s return to talks next week, we must all keep in mind the basic principle that is guiding our companies through this difficult process: We have a fundamental obligation to our employees and shareholders to create a modern economic system for our industry that will allow us to prosper in the face of increasingly difficult and fast-changing competition. Other industries have tried to take the easy way out by pretending that the fundamental changes around them were not really occurring, and as a result many businesses have declined at great cost to their workers, investors and communities. We are determined to deal successfully with the revolutionary global and technological changes confronting our industry before it is too late. That is why we are so committed to a fair deal for all parties, one that gives everyone a share in the profits of success and allows our business to change and grow.
The Leadership of the AMPTP