Sides try to put spin on negotiations

The negotiations spin has gone nuclear.

WGA West president Patric Verrone is sticking by his guns, asserting that the AMPTP is stalling at the current round of negotiations. The AMPTP, meanwhile, has fired off a blistering response.

Verrone told Daily Variety that AMPTP reps had promised the WGA late Thursday afternoon that they planned to work “through the night” at the location of negotiations on AMPTP counter-proposals in new media, Web streaming, jurisdiction and Internet downloads.

“We were told by (CAA’s ) Bryan Lourd to wait,” Verrone said.

But a small group of guild leaders who stayed behind at the site saw the remaining AMPTP members depart at 6:45 p.m., Verrone said.

The AMPTP, though, insists that the WGA has not responded to its Nov. 29 proposal (the New Economic Partnership); that the WGA hasn’t spent enough time at the negotiating table; and the blame for the strike lies with the WGA for not turning down multiple requests to start negotiating earlier this year (negotiations began on July 16).

The AMPTP also slapped the WGA leaders by calling them “organizers,” implying that they are more interested in striking than negotiating. And they also implied that the WGA is bogging down the negotiations by going into peripheral areas.

“The producers did present a new proposal, the New Economic Partnership, which would increase the average working writer’s salary to more than $230,000 a year,” the AMPTP said. “The WGA’s organizers have yet to respond directly to that proposal, preferring instead to focus on jurisdictional issues in the areas of reality and animation television.”

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