Producers fire back, call WGA camp “organizers”

The negotiations spin has gone nuclear.

WGA West president Patric Verrone’s sticking by his guns, asserting  early Friday afternoon that the AMPTP’s stalling at the current round of negotiations. And the AMPTP has fired off a blistering response.

In an interview just before speaking at a rally at FreeMantle headquarters in Burbank, Verrone told Daily Variety that AMPTP reps had promised the WGA late Thursday afternoon that they were planning to work “through the night” at the location of negotiations on AMPTP counter-proposals in new media — Web streaming, jurisdiction and Internet downloads.

CAA’s Bryan Lourd — who’s been active in the talks — conveyed the message, Verrone said. “We were told by Bryan Lourd to wait,” he added.

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

In another development Friday, the AMPTP issued a response to the most recent message to WGA members from Verrone and WGA East prez Michael Winship.

The AMPTP’ insists that the WGA that hasn’t responded to its Nov. 29 proposal (the New Economic Partnership); that the WGA hasn’t spent time at the negotiating table; and the blame for the strike lies with the WGA for turning down mutiple 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’re more interested in striking than negotiating. And they also implied that the WGA’s bogging down the negotiations by going into periperhal 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,” it 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.”

The entire statement after the jump:

–Dave McNary and Cynthia Littleton

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