In a sign of the town’s toughening tone, the WGA West is changing its writer’s lounge into a war room.
The guild recently posted a notice at the lounge that it is “temporarily suspending” use of the space due to upcoming negotiations. The move, which goes into effect Tuesday, will impact dozens of writers using the first-floor lounge to hammer out scripts before a potential strike.
Guild spokesman Neal Sacharow said the Writers Guild Foundation Library, also on the first floor, will be offered as a temporary alternative. “We’re preparing the entire building for negotiations,” he added.
Negotiations between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers will resume at guild headquarters at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue on Sept. 19. The current contract expires Oct. 31, though it’s widely presumed that a strike won’t occur immediately if there’s no deal at that point.
Negotiating committee member Dan Wilcox admitted that the lounge may morph into strike headquarters. In response to recent postings about the closure on the WriterAction forum — open only to WGA members — Wilcox apologized for the inconvenience while noting that July’s negotiations at AMPTP headquarters in Encino required extensive space.
“It’s clear that the pain people feel at even a temporary closure is genuine,” he added. “But the main purpose of the guild is to negotiate contracts. A credible strike threat is a necessary for a successful negotiation. If we don’t set up a potential strike headquarters, our intentions will look wobbly. And if we do strike, we’ll need a real headquarters. Any way I look at it, we need that room for a while.”