WGA sits down with AMPTP for third day in attempt to resolve strike

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The union for striking television and motion picture writers has been meeting with Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers bosses in a new attempt to end the union’s strike against major content studios.

The WGA said that its leadership met with the AMPTP for a round of negotiations Sept. 20, 2023. Talks have continued as of Sept. 22, 2023.

The WGA strike started May 2, 2023, and put a halt to production on hundreds of TV shows and films as union rules bar any members from providing writing services to productions covered under the AMPTP agreement. Some programming, such as news and reality shows, are largely not covered by the AMPTP contract and continued production.

AMPTP is an industry organization that counts major film and TV studios as members and negotiates with union leadership on contracts for productions covered under its auspices.

Even if the WGA strike is settled, AMPTP is still facing a separate strike from SAG-AFTRA, which started July 14, 2023. This union, which primarily represents actors, has a separate deal with AMPTP.

Both unions are fighting for significant changes in how its members are compensated for their work, particularly for streaming productions and residual payments, which can be very low, especially for writers or actors unable to negotiate high salaries directly with a studio.

Other concerns include workplace conditions and the use of artificial intelligence to potentially write scripts or recreate actors’ likenesses in future productions.

AMPTP has countered saying that production and content costs are soaring and it can’t afford to increase compensation. It has also rejected some of the concerns the unions have made about AI.

The fall 2023 television season has been significantly impacted by the strike, with almost no sitcoms or dramas set to return with new episodes due to the strike. Schedules have been largely filled with reality, competition and game shows.

If the WGA strike is resolved, shows could, at least in theory, resume pre-production, though it’s also possible some writers could opt out of returning in solidarity with SAG-AFTRA. Most shows need at least several weeks of pre-production before filming can begin, so at least some could being to prepare for a potential end to SAG-AFTRA’s strike by getting writing and other tasks done.

Filming and other tasks such as table reads, rehearsals, auditions, fittings and other tasks involving actors would not be able to resume until the SAG-AFTRA deal is resolved.