Verrone: The strike has moved the ball forward

WGA West president Patric Verrone says the majors are all wet when it comes to their blaming the guild for not starting contract talks earlier than mid-July.

“Had we been talking earlier then it would have been 10 months of nothing,” he said after the WGA rally at Fremantle HQ in Burbank.

Verrone also emphasized that it’s only the strike — which started Nov. 5 — that has moved negotiations forward at all.

The AMPTP, as part of its response to the WGA’s accusation of stalling, put the blame on the Guild and said, “The WGA’s organizers refused repeated requests by the producers to begin negotiations much earlier, in the spring of 2007. Had negotiations begun when the producers wanted them to start, perhaps the industry would not now be in the midst of this strike.”

And as to how negotiations were going, Verrone reported there’s little progress. As of this morning, Verrone said they still hadn’t received anything back from AMPTP in response to Tuesday’s WGA counter-offer after waiting most of Thursday.

“We went through a lot of discussion (about the WGA counter-proposal) and then we were told yesterday at 11 o’clock that a comprehensive package was coming. At 5 they told us to go home” because AMPTP was still working on it and would go late, he said.

“Some of our people stayed around (and around 7 pm) saw them leave,” he added.

–Cynthia Littleton

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