Business News

Writers Guild sharply rebukes latest offer from Hollywood studios

sag-2-gty-bb-230823_1692802165326_hpEmbed_3x2_992
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

(NEW YORK) — The Writers Guild rejected the latest offer from TV and movie studios in a statement on Tuesday night, thrusting the acrimonious negotiations into public view 113 days after Hollywood writers went on strike.

The three-year contract offer includes a combined 13% pay hike over the term of the deal, an increase in residual payments and a vow that writers “will not be disadvantaged” if any part of a script is written by general artificial intelligence, according to a statement on Wednesday from The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, or AMPTP, the group negotiating on behalf of the studios.

Under the deal, the studios will also share confidential viewership data with the union every three months and guarantee a 10-week minimum work period, the AMPTP said, noting that the proposal “substantially improves” upon previous offers.

Rebuking the offer, the Writers Guild said it features “limitations and loopholes and omissions” that fail “to sufficiently protect writers from the existential threats that caused us to strike in the first place.”

A negotiating committee for the union met on Tuesday with Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and AMPTP President Carol Lombardini, as well as other executives, the Writers Guild said.

Union officials attended the meeting in “good faith” but received “a lecture about how good their single and only counteroffer was.”

“This wasn’t a meeting to make a deal,” the statement from the union said. “This was a meeting to get us to cave.”

“This was the companies’ plan from the beginning — not to bargain, but to jam us. It is their only strategy — to bet that we will turn on each other,” the union added.

In a statement, Lombardini said the recent offer from TV and movie studios reflects their desire to resolve the labor dispute.

“Our priority is to end the strike so that valued members of the creative community can return to what they do best and to end the hardships that so many people and businesses that service the industry are experiencing,” Lombardini said.

“We have come to the table with an offer that meets the priority concerns the writers have expressed,” Lombardini added. “We are deeply committed to ending the strike and are hopeful that the WGA will work toward the same resolution.”

Thousands of television and movie writers went on strike in May. The contract dispute follows a decade-long shift to streaming that has slashed writer pay and worsened working conditions, the unions, which belong to East and West Coast branches of the Writers Guild of America, said in a previous statement.

The writers’ strike has coincided with a work stoppage undertaken by a union representing representing roughly 160,000 actors, bringing activity in Hollywood to a halt.

As with writers, the streaming model has slashed the residual payments received by actors when their shows or movies are re-aired, according to the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, or SAG-AFTRA.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Writers Guild vowed to continue its strike.

“We will see you all out on the picket lines and let the companies continue to see what labor power looks like,” the union said.

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.