Both sides dig heels into the ground
Hopes for a quick resolution of the writers strike are fading fast.Back-channel efforts have resumed to avert what’s now looking like a long and painful work stoppage. But those moves aren’t gaining much traction amid continued hardline public stances by both the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers. Worries have risen that without reviving the WGA talks, the scribes’ work stoppage could easily bleed into the middle of next year. The DGA’s expected to launch talks within the next few weeks while SAG’s negotiations would probably start in the late winter or early spring. Both the DGA and SAG contracts expire June 30. WGA negotiations collapsed Sunday night, dashing a brief burst of optimism over the weekend that both sides had softened their stances and narrowed their proposals. And since the talks crashed and burned, both sides have ditched diplomacy. AMPTP topper Nick Counter has insisted that the companies aren’t interested in new talks as long as the WGA’s on strike. And WGA West president Patric Verrone has declared in an email to members that the guild is no longer committed to taking its DVD residuals proposal off the table — even though it did so Sunday to address the AMPTP’s assertion that the DVD proposal was a roadblock to a deal. “Our new comprehensive proposal (including the DVD removal) was presented in an off-the-record session; our new proposal was then rejected,” Verrone said. “Based on what I saw and heard on the picket lines today, therefore, all bets are off and what we achieve in this negotiation will be a function of how much we are willing to fight to get our fair share of the residuals of the future, no matter how they are delivered.” In other developments:
- The WGA’s considering offering waivers, or “interim agreements,” under which producers could employ writers with the proviso that scribes would be compensated under terms of the new contract. During the 1988 WGA strike, more than 70 such were signed.
- The WGA has quietly backed off its strike rules on animated feature writing.
- The Writers Guild of Canada has come out in support of its southern brethren.
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