This past Friday, after over 90 days since the beginning of the writer’s strike,  the Writer’s Guild Of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (aka the studios such as Disney, Netflix etc), came together for a meeting in at the AMPTP headquarters to discuss organising further meetings to try to come to a compromise to end the strike and to go back to work.

While the meeting between the two parties is a huge step forward, the end of the writer’s strike has no end in sight as the writers and studios are still very apart on some major issues, including streaming residuals.

Another major thorny issue is having minimum staffing levels and having a guaranteed minimum number of weeks of employment for a writing job.  These two proposals by the WGA are being called non-starters by the studios and have given no indication that they are prepared to change that position.  Another new complication is that even if it gets a new deal, the WGA is not willing to cross the picket until the Screen Actors Guild also gets a deal.  This basically means no work can continue unless both strikes are resolved.

The meeting lasted about an hour, and no future meetings have been scheduled since the studios need to come together to discuss the events from Friday’s meeting first before continuing.

There is also a major issue between the two parties, regarding making the news from the meeting public.  They both agreed to a media blackout, but the WGA says that the studios leaked some information about the meeting, undermining the trust even further.   Though it’s an obvious strategy that both sides are using to try to undermine one another to try to help sway public opinion in their favour.

Here is the statement from the Writer’s Guild Of America on Friday’s meeting:

Dear Members,

Ellen Stutzman and Tony Segall met with Carol Lombardini and AMPTP staff this afternoon for what Carol stated was a confidential sidebar to discuss resuming negotiations for a new MBA. Topics included—at the AMPTP’s insistence—press blackouts. Also discussed was a potential negotiation protocol and a preview of the issues each side intends to bring back to the table upon resumption.

As of now, there is no agreement on these items, because the AMPTP said they needed to consult with their member studios before moving forward.

Our intention after the confidential meeting was to send a simple email to you all letting you know we would get back to you when there was more specific information about resuming negotiations.

However, before the negotiating committee even had a chance to meet, our communications department began hearing from the trades asking for comments on studio-leaked rumors of the contents of the confidential meeting. This is after the AMPTP spent much of the meeting emphasizing the need for a press blackout.

Since the studios are leaking to the press we need to let you know what was said in the meeting.

First, Carol informed us that the DGA deal would be the deal on any pattern issues.

She stated they were willing to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums – and willing to talk about AI – but that they were not willing to engage on the preservation of the writers’ room, or success-based residuals. She did not indicate willingness to address screenwriter issues, Appendix A issues, and many of the other proposals that remain on our list.

On behalf of the Guild, Ellen reiterated the expectation that all the fundamental issues over which writers have been striking these past three months would be addressed in this new contract, and that no segment of the membership would be left behind.

Ellen made clear that, in addition to a comprehensive response from the AMPTP on our proposals in all work areas, we will need to address issues arising from the strike, including a health care benefit extension and additional plan funding, reinstatement of striking writers, and arbitration of disputes arising during the strike. We will also seek the right for individual WGA members to honor other unions’ picket lines as they have honored ours during this strike.

Carol’s response – something she repeated three times during the meeting – echoes what was written in the AMPTP press statement yesterday: “People just want to get back to work.”

We agree, with the caveat that those conditions that have made writers’ jobs increasingly untenable must first be addressed.

Your committee remains willing to engage with the companies and resume negotiations in good faith to make a fair deal for all writers, even with this early confirmation that the AMPTP playbook continues. But rest assured, this committee does not intend to leave anyone behind, or make merely an incremental deal to conclude this strike.

In solidarity,

WGA Negotiating Committee


Ultimately, this meeting was always going to be a bit frosty on either side, as they’ve been unable to come together for the last few months, and this meeting was just a formality to set up future meetings, so the strike was never going to just come to a close after one meeting.  We are likely going to have many more months of meetings and negotiations while the two parties come to an agreement.

Communication between the WGA and Studios is expected to continue in the coming days, since both sides won’t want this situation to continue for too much longer, but sadly the news coming out of the meeting isn’t what most of us would have hoped.  But at least there has been some movement this week, though there is a very long way to go.



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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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