Writers Guild, AMPTP Prepping for New Round of Negotiations

New hope for a strike-free Oscars?

by | January 23, 2008 | Comments

We’ve heard it before, but maybe this time, it’ll turn out to be true: After weeks without progress, it appears as if negotiations between the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers might be turning a corner.

Variety reports that the WGA has removed two of the AMPTP’s least favorite proposals — demands for jurisdiction over writers in the reality and animation sectors — and has agreed to continue informal talks with the Alliance in preparation for a formal resumption of negotiations.

The thaw was triggered by the Directors Guild of America’s recent announcement of a deal with the AMPTP — one which many WGA members believe could be comfortably used as a template for the WGA’s contract talks. Admittedly, it isn’t much in terms of tangible progress, but at this point, the industry will take what it can get. From Variety:

With the DGA deal paving the way for new talks for the writers, the Feb. 24 Oscarcast has become a kind of unofficial deadline for the AMPTP and WGA to come to terms — or settle in for a prolonged war that could also enlist the Screen Actors Guild, whose contract is up June 30.

Though chances for a strike-free Oscars are said to have “received a major boost” yesterday, WGA East president Michael Winship was quick to remind reporters that “renewed communication” doesn’t necessarily equal an end to the strike, saying:

“Until the Writers Guild has a deal with the conglomerates — the studios and networks — our intention is to boycott the Oscars, to picket the Oscars and to ask our fellow union members at the Screen Actors Guild to boycott the Oscars. That’s our plan.”

For his part, Oscars producer Gil Cates doesn’t seem to be losing much sleep over whether his show will have to contend with a strike:

“A month is a long time away — look at Iowa. There will be lots of clips — we have a long history, 80 years, to explore.”

Source: Variety