Friday's WGA talks offer no progress

Contract talks between union writers and their employers have been suspended with the next session set for Tuesday.

The talks, held at the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers offices in Encino, lasted less than an hour Friday, with the reps for the Writers Guild of America leaving the session and pledging to return Tuesday morning.

A rep for the AMPTP characterized the sessions on Thursday and Friday as counterproductive with no give and take and advancement toward any kind of deal.

Friday’s session was the seventh day of negotiations since the middle of July. The negotiations appear to have achieved virtually no progress since the presentation of initial proposals, with the WGA rejecting the AMPTP’s revolutionary revamp of the residuals system, which calls for talent to receive residuals only after basic costs have been recouped.

For its part, the WGA has asked for specific formula to compensate writers for work on new media platforms along with increased jurisdiction over reality TV, animation and gameshows. The guilds also asked its 12,000 members for a strike authorization, with ballots due Oct. 18. The WGA’s current contract expires Oct. 31.

The lack of progress in negotiations has raised fears that the guild will strike next month, although many labor observers believe it will opt to tell members to keep working under the terms of the expired contract in hopes that the DGA and SAG can achieve acceptable deals with the AMPTP.

Both the DGA and SAG contracts expire June 30.

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