WGA and AMPTP Have Come Closer, But Not Close Enough, Says WGA Negotiating Committee

There was an uptick in optimism across both SAG-AFTRA and WGA members as the AMPTP and WGA returned to the negotiating table earlier this month. Unfortunately, The Writers Guild said Wednesday that the AMPTP’s latest counteroffer for a new contract “is neither nothing, nor nearly enough.” In a message to its members released today, the guild said it “will continue to advocate for proposals that fully address our issues rather than accept half measures like those” offered by the companies in its latest offer August 11. The guild said that “we remain committed to direct negotiations with the companies,” as you can read in their letter to members following below.

In that letter, the WGA concedes that the companies have come closer, but not close enough, to meeting several of the guild’s demands on several key strike issues.

“I think we’re going in the right direction, but I think that there’s still a lot of ground that needs to be covered,” Writers Guild of America board member Dailyn Rodriguez told The Hollywood Reporter in front of Disney on Wednesday. “I can see loopholes all over the proposal, and our membership sees that as well.”

Artificial Intelligence Remains a Roadblock

On the hot-button issue of artificial intelligence, WGA leaders declared, “We have had real discussions and seen movement on their part regarding AI protections. But we are not yet where we need to be.”

The AMPTP says that this proposal “provides important safeguards to prevent writers from being disadvantaged if any part of the script is based on GAI-produced material, so that the writer’s compensation, credit and separated rights will not be affected by the use of GAI-produced material,” according to Deadline.

The WGA, however, says that the companies “continue to refuse to regulate the use of our work to train AI to write new content for a motion picture.”

WGA’s Statement to Its Members

Today, the WGA’s negotiating committee issued a statement on the status of the negotiations.

Here is that statement in full:

As promised, here’s a more detailed explanation of where we are in the negotiations: 

On Friday August 11th after 102 days on strike, the AMPTP gave us the counteroffer they publicized Tuesday night August 22nd. The Guild responded with our own counterproposal on August 15th, and there were discussions about a few issues on Wednesday and Thursday last week. On Friday August 18th late afternoon, Carol brought us in for a session that lasted under ten minutes and consisted of the companies making two minor moves on TV issues.  

On Monday, the call came to meet with Carol and four of the CEOs on Tuesday night, August 22nd, with an indication the companies were finally ready to get serious about bargaining for a deal. As we reported, the basic message of that meeting was that the companies’ first and only counteroffer to the WGA since the start of the strike, made 11 days before, was and had to be the basis for the only deal they were willing to make.

During the meeting with the CEOs we spent two hours explaining that, though progress had been made, the language of the AMPTP’s offer was, as is typical of that body, a version of giving with one hand and taking back with the other.  

We repeated what we have said since day one, that our demands come directly from the membership itself. They address the existential threats to the profession of writing and to our individual careers, all caused by changes to the business model implemented by the companies in the last seven to ten years. We stressed that we could not and would not pick and choose among those threats; that we have not struck for nearly four months to half-save ourselves, nor are we leaving any sector of this Guild unprotected when we return to work. We are willing to negotiate within these areas, but every existential issue must be met with a genuine solution. 

At the end of the meeting, the companies told us they intended to go directly to our membership by releasing information on their August 11th proposal to the media ‘within the next 24 hours.’ They released a six-page document 20 minutes after the meeting concluded.

This should be seen as what it is, simply a tactic in the middle of an ongoing negotiation.  

We aren’t going to negotiate by press release, so won’t go through the AMPTP’s characterization of its August 11th proposal in detail, but here are some broad strokes that may already be apparent:  

Many of the current deal points they have put forward – minimums, SVOD residuals, AVOD terms – are from a deal negotiated with the DGA more than 80 days ago. 

Member power – the strike – forced the companies to negotiate on more issues than they were willing to as of May 1, but still in the typical AMPTP mode of seeming to give while limiting the actual gains. Here are a few examples of areas they’ve made proposals that are not yet good enough:

  • In screen, they have proposed a second step but only for a statistically tiny category of screenwriters, excluding all but the first writers of original screenplays. They dismissed the concept of weekly pay.
  • They have ceded selected – but insufficient – minimum terms for some-but not all-Appendix A writers in SVOD. For example, while comedy-variety is covered, game show writers, daytime writers, and all other Appendix A writers are not covered.
  • In television, the companies have introduced the notion of an MBA guarantee of minimum staff size and duration. But the loopholes, limitations, and omissions in their modest proposal, too numerous to single out, make them effectively toothless.
  • Teams of two writers would receive P&H contributions as individuals. But not teams of three or more.
  • We have had real discussions and seen movement on their part regarding AI protections. But we are not yet where we need to be. As one example, they continue to refuse to regulate the use of our work to train AI to write new content for a motion picture.
  • Finally, the companies say they have made a major concession by offering to allow six WGA staff to study limited streaming viewership data for the next three years, so we can return in 2026 to ask once again for a viewership-based residual. In the meantime, no writer can be told by the WGA about how well their project is doing, much less receive a residual based on that data.  

The companies’ counteroffer is neither nothing, nor nearly enough. We will continue to advocate for proposals that fully address our issues rather than accept half measures like those mentioned above and other proposals not listed here.  

One last reminder illustrates why the AMPTP’s current stance doesn’t make sense. As we have repeated from the first day of our first member meeting – and on every day of this strike – our demands are fair and reasonable, and the companies can afford them.  Here is the cost to each company of our current asks on the table, including the addition of increased health funding to address the impact of the strike…

Weigh this against the cost of not making a deal: the cost to 11,500 writers; to actors, crews and drivers; to anyone who works in and around the business but is not on strike; to the economies of California and New York and everywhere film and television is made; to consumers, pension plans and other shareholders; and to the companies themselves. It makes no sense. And everybody but the AMPTP knows it. 

In the last 36 hours the response from the membership is that you are undeterred by this latest tactic. Despite the AMPTP’s attempt at a detour around us, we remain committed to direct negotiations with the companies. That’s actually how a deal gets made and the strike ends. That will be good for the rest of the industry and the companies as well. 

Until then, we will see you on the picket lines.

Check back here at SCREEN for the latest news as WGA and SAG-AFTRA forge ahead. You can also click right here to subscribe to our weekly email newsletter.

1 Response

  1. Colt Seevers

    According to the graphic above, we are asking each company to make concessions that are less than 1% of their total revenues. Our demands are in the millions, their profits are in the billions. I am absolutely amazed by the amount of greed these companies and their CEO’s possess, it goes beyond the pale of humanity, and is actually quite hard for me to comprehend. I have no idea how they justify their motives, or live by a philosophy that puts money above all else, no matter what. That takes a special kind of soulless, inhumane person whose priorities are so skewed, that even their own mother must question how they raised such a person. It’s just sad.

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