AMPTP, WGA resume sniping

Producers say strike has cost writers $151 mil

After taking most of the week off, the AMPTP and the WGA have resumed sniping at each other.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers announced Friday morning that its calculation of how much the eight-week strike has cost writers — $151.2 million — had topped the guild’s calculation of the increase it had asked for at the negotiating table. And it continued to refer to guild leaders dismissively as “organizers.”

“It’s official: The people in charge at the WGA have led working writers into a strike that has now cost those working writers more in salary and benefits than the WGA’s organizers ever expected to gain from the strike,” the AMPTP statement said. “And the strike continues because the union’s leaders are focused on jurisdictional issues that would expand their own power, at the expense of the new media issues that working writers care most about.”

The AMPTP also posted a video about its announcement on the YouTube site — where WGA members and supporters have posted hundreds of pro-guild videos over the last two months.

By noon, the WGA had responded with a statement asserting that it’s the AMPTP’s fault for ditching negotiations on Dec. 7. That’s when the AMPTP insisted that six WGA proposals — including two on jurisdiction and one on sympathy strikes — had to be dropped as a condition of continuing the talks. 

The WGA also insisted Friday that the key issues involve new-media compensation.  

“Big media walked away from the table and refuses to negotiate,” the guild said. “The media conglomerates know that the core issue in these negotiations is new media. Their current proposals would cause writers even more economic harm in the future than they claim this strike has caused. To sidestep this fact, they erroneously claim we are focused on other issues. The conglomerates are responsible for creating the economic havoc. They should put their energies into making a fair deal with writers rather than issuing misleading statements.”

The $151 million figure was issued Nov. 29 by the WGA at the conclusion of four days of negotiations. Talks collapsed a week later.

No new WGA talks are scheduled and the DGA’s expected to announce its start date for talks with the AMPTP soon. The directors had said they would wait until the end of the year to announce firming up its negotiations schedule.

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