Desperate Writers To Studios: Please Don't Leave Table!

Please don’t go! That’s the message from the Writer’s Guild of America to Hollywood producers. The writers are clearly spooked by rumours the networks were ready to walk away from the negotiating table for the holidays, and accept a spring tv season without new sitcoms and dramas.

The WGA says it is still waiting for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producer’s response to its latest counter-offer, which it presented Tuesday. On Thursday, the AMPTP said their counter wasn’t yet ready for today’s talks, yet rather than work all night to finish their proposal, the WGA says “we saw everyone from the AMPTP leave the building by 6:45 p.m. … not a promising sign.”

Full WGA letter after the jump.

Dear Fellow Members,

Before we head into negotiations this morning, we want to give you an update on where we stand.

On Tuesday, after the companies had requested a four-day break so they could work on their proposals, we returned to the bargaining table. We presented a counter proposal to their streaming proposal of November 29. They presented no new proposals. On Wednesday, the AMPTP again had no new proposals, but they did have detailed questions about our streaming counter proposal and other aspects of our overall proposals – and from the give and take of those discussions, we felt that they might finally be ready to engage in serious bargaining. They told us they would have new proposals for us Thursday. On Thursday, we met at 10am, and they told us their new proposals would be ready shortly. At 5pm, they told us their proposals still weren’t ready, that they would be working on them late into the night, and that we should come back this morning at 10am. The fact that we saw everyone from the AMPTP leave the building by 6:45pm is not a promising sign, but we will be at the table at 10am this morning, ready to receive their new proposal.

We’d like to address some of the disturbing rumours and back channel communications we’ve been hearing. For one, we’ve heard that one or more of the companies are prepared to throw away the spring and fall TV season, plus features, and prolong the strike. Aside from the devastating effect this would have on the unions, workers, and their families in this industry, it would certainly explain the AMPTP’s refusal to put any new proposals, even a bad one, on the table. Also, highly placed executives have been telling some of our writers that the companies are preparing to abruptly cut off negotiations. They say the companies plan to accuse the WGA of stalling and being unwilling to negotiate, and that the companies will use that as an excuse to walk out.

The Writers Guilds of America, West and East are going on record now that any such claims are absolutely untrue. We have been at the negotiating table every day, willing to bargain. Furthermore, we hereby challenge the AMPTP to negotiate in good faith, day and night, through the Christmas and New Year’s holidays – whatever is necessary – to get this done and get the town back to work. The Writers Guilds will remain at the table every day, for as long as it takes, to make a fair deal.

Thank you for your patience, support, and solidarity through these difficult times. Please come to the Fremantle rally today. We remain all in this together.

Patric M. Verrone
Writers Guild of America, West

Michael Winship
Writers Guild of America, East

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