Is the months-long writers’ strike finally coming to an end? We should have more answers as the strike enters its 146th day on Sunday. Negotiators from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and their counterparts at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the major Hollywood studios, will meet for a fifth consecutive day to hammer out what appears to be the final details of a proposed contract.
CNN reported on Saturday evening that the studios presented the strikers with their “best and final” offer. However, a joint statement from both sides suggested there was still more work ahead, and, of course, any deal would need to go to union membership for a vote. But by Sunday morning, it was clear that negotiators were examining the fine print, gearing up for another round of talks in Sherman Oaks following a week of intensifying efforts to break the deadlock.
I found this report in Variety published Saturday very useful in understanding the stakes for today—as well as the strategic maneuvers that might be unfolding behind the scenes:
The AMPTP’s move to make a “last, best and final offer” to the WGA is meant to signal to the guild that the companies will not engage in further negotiation on the terms of the contract in any significant way. It’s a common process in collective bargaining negotiations. The WGA is expected to give the AMPTP a yea or nay on Sunday, which indicates that management may have put a time limit on getting a response. However, the joint statement may also have been an effort to take the temperature down. By multiple accounts, the WGA is poised to achieve significant new compensation and benefits gains. With the pressure brought to bear by the work stoppage, the guild appears to have forced the studios to address each of its major priorities going into what both sides knew would be a tough contract cycle.
At the heart of the strike are concerns about how to tackle the immense generational shifts happening concurrently in the industry, such as the emergence of artificial intelligence, and debates over sharing profits from streaming or subscription services. The actors’ union SAG-AFTRA joined the writers on July 14, but have yet to engage in formal talks with the Hollywood brass, according to the LA Times.