WGA accuses AMPTP of trying ‘not to bargain, but to jam us’ as US writers strike continues

(CC: Izayah Ramos – unsplash)

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has hit back at the latest proposals from The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), accusing the streamer and studio union of attempting “not to bargain, but to jam us”.

The AMPTP had earlier revealed its offer – first put forward on 11 August but only made public yesterday – to the WGA, with the studio and streamer union president Carol Lombardini describing the “comprehensive package” as meeting “the priority concerns” of writers.

The deal includes amendments to residual payments, more flexibility on writers rooms, more transparency over viewing figures and guardrails put around the use of AI.

The AMPTP added that the offer, which includes a 5% increase in year one, followed by 4% and 3.5% in years two and three, would result “in the highest wage increase for writers in 35 years.”

‘Failure to protect’

However, the WGA provided its thoughts on the proposal last night in an email to members, saying it “failed to sufficiently protect writers”.

It continued: “On Monday of this week, we received an invitation to meet with Bob Iger, Donna Langley, Ted Sarandos, David Zaslav, and Carol Lombardini.

“It was accompanied by a message that it was past time to end this strike and that the companies were finally ready to bargain a deal. We accepted that invitation and, in good faith, met tonight, in hopes that the companies were serious about getting the industry back to work.

“Instead, on the 113th day of the strike – and while SAG-AFTRA is walking the picket lines by our side – we were met with a lecture about how good their single and only counteroffer was.

The WGA added that the meeting was not one at which “to make a deal” but rather one “to get us to cave”, with reps subsequently departing the talks after 20 minutes.

“This was the companies’ plan from the beginning – not to bargain, but to jam us. It is their only strategy – to bet that we will turn on each other.”

The writers union said it would comment further today, but said the AMPTP proposal did not adequately address key concerns around writers room, AI or data transparency.

Hopes had risen that the two sides could be nearing an agreement, but the WGA had warned its members earlier this month to ignore news reports leaked from AMPTP members that a deal was likely, highlighting studio “management using the media or industry surrogates to try to influence the narrative.”

The WGA has been on strike since 2 May, with actor’s union SAG-AFTRA also halting work last month, bringing Hollywood productions to a standstill.

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