The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers continue their contract talks in Los Angeles as of mid afternoon, May 1. The contract between writers and producers expires at 12:01 AM April 2.
Sources expect the WGA talks to continue with some sort of an extension, but a strike is still possible. For a strike to occur, the WGA membership must first authorize that action according to certain procedures. On May 1, a union spokesperson told Playbill On-Line that even if talks were suspended at midnight tonight, a strike could not begin until it had been authorized. “That would probably take at least until the end of the week,” the spokesperson said.
News of the contract deadline determination between writers and producers may come in the wee hours, as early as 3 AM May 2, sources said.
One year ago today, the Screen Actors Guild began its historic six-month long strike against commercial producers. That protracted battle is still fresh in the minds of anyone connected with both the current WGA contract talks with producers, and the upcoming theatrical contract talks between actors and producers in May.
SAG has representatives sitting at the WGA's negotiating table with the AMPTP. The actors’ commercial strike resulted in the retention of the union’s baseline “Class A” residuals for network television, Internet jurisdiction for the union over commercials on the web, a beneficial cable buyout formula for actors and recognition that monitoring the use of commercials must be dramatically improved in order to fairly manage actors’ residuals.
The WGA is said to be after many of the same specific things that the actors will be after in their theatrical contract negotiations later this month. Among these are better compensation for cable usage and adjustments in the residual rates paid by the (now established) FOX Network.
The writers also seek parity by way of better recognizing their roles as content creators.
—By Murdoch McBride