Talks Between Writers, Studios at a Standstill After Week of Trading Barbs

Following an eventful week in which members of the Writers Guild of America as well as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers traded barbs following the publication of the studios’ counteroffer, no talks are currently scheduled for the two parties to return to the negotiating table.

According to sources on both sides, there remains no timetable for when negotiations for the group representing Hollywood’s studios and streamers and the Writers Guild’s negotiating committee will return to talks. Reps for the AMPTP and WGA declined to comment on the status of negotiations.

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The standstill comes after the AMPTP on Aug. 22 went public with its first counteroffer since the studios’ initial response in May to the WGA’s original proposal mere days after the strike began. The release of the proposal — which was dated Aug. 11 but sent out publicly this Tuesday — includes gains in residuals and protections against artificial intelligence, was slammed by the WGA as a ploy “not to bargain, but to jam us” with the counteroffer dubbed not “nearly enough.”

The guild, in a memo to members Aug. 24, said it responded with its own counterproposal Aug. 15 and further negotiations transpired in the days that followed. On Tuesday of this week, WGA leaders met with the AMPTP as well as CEOs from Disney, Netflix, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discovery, with the union noting the message it received was that the Aug. 11 proposal would be the companies’ “first and only counteroffer” since the strike began in May.

In releasing its counteroffer — which WGA members criticized as an “unforced error” — AMPTP president Carol Lombardini said the offer “meets the priority concerns the writers have expressed” and doubled down on the group’s desire to end the strike.

The WGA, it’s worth noting, has not released the specifics of its desired terms since the union detailed its proposals after going out on strike May 2.

Studio-side sources say the proverbial ball is in the WGA’s court, that Lombardini would like to reengage so that the talks won’t become stalled for too long.

Sources said the AMPTP had planned on going public with its offer to the WGA on Aug. 18 but delayed doing so because insiders thought the union might take the Aug. 11 offer to its members. The WGA said that despite progress being made in the offer, it was the equivalent of “giving with one hand and taking back with the other” and dubbed the release of the proposal a “tactic in the middle of an ongoing negotiation.”

The barbs from both sides began hours after members of various unions gathered at Disney for a National Day of Solidarity staged by SAG-AFTRA that saw thousands close streets near Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. The rally featured speakers from the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, Teamsters, Directors Guild of America and other unions.

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