Aug 1, 2023

Writers Strike Nears Day 100, Will AMPTP Make Their Way Back To The Table

Word on the street has it that the writers and the studios are discussing a move that would bring them back to the negotiating table to hammer out a deal that could end at least one of the strikes that is currently taking over Hollywood.

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This alleged news marks the first significant step towards progress since the writers strike began May 2. It is the first time in three months insiders have felt cautiously optimistic that official talks can resume. The topics at the top of the agenda include minimum staffing, duration of employment, a viewership-based streaming residual, and the juggernaut AI. There’s hope that they can find a compromise on the latter, at least. However, multiple sources contend the situation is in the early stages and still quite fluid.

The attorneys of both parties have been speaking as part of a classic playbook of establishing harmonious labor relations. Lawyers, including outside counsel, as well as in-house labor-relations experts and business-affairs chiefs are now looking to establish communication – essentially opening the door for both sides to head back to Sherman Oaks. Studios were not expecting the backlash that has occured by the AMPTP’s refusal to meet the union’s demands. There’s a drive, particularly from the legacy media companies, to get this done sooner rather than later. August 9 will mark Day 100 of the strike if it is still ongoing 8 days from today.

Given the bitter battle lines drawn up in early May (when that nasty Deadline article dropped) revealing the studio’s aims to break the WGA by letting the strike continue deep into the fall. Now on day 92, the tone of the topic of returning to the table has shifted slightly recently. Many of the high-ranking WGA members, such as Keyser and his WGA Negotiating Committee Co-Chair David Goodman as well as others, have long said they’re willing to get back to the table as soon as they hear from the AMPTP.

The last time the WGA went on strike in 2007-2008, the labor action lasted exactly 100 days. In that very different pre-streaming era, one of the big topics on the table were residuals from what was then termed “new media.” Now AI and roomsize are the battleground.