WGA-AMPTP negotiations set to resume

Expected to continue almost nonstop

The WGA and Hollywood studios have a date to continue their dance around the negotiating table: Sept. 19.

That's just two days later than the studios' Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers suggested almost two weeks ago. But the guild, in a letter received late Monday by the AMPTP, rejected a management request to continue holding the talks at AMPTP headquarters in Encino and instead demanded that talks shift to WGA West headquarters in Los Angeles.

That's the same place the parties held their film and TV negotiations three years ago. Initial talks for a new pact were held last month on AMPTP's turf until a protracted hiatus kicked in over scheduling conflicts.

On Tuesday, the AMPTP informed the guild that it accepted the WGA's suggested time and place for resuming the talks. The negotiations launched July 16 and then broke off July 18 after just two sessions so that the AMPTP could focus on final contract sessions with the Teamsters and four basic crafts unions.

The Teamsters talks wrapped Aug. 1, but it has taken until now for the parties to work out a date for resuming the WGA-AMPTP negotiations.

The parties' first two negotiation sessions were marked by sharp, sometimes public, disagreement over areas like writer compensation for new-media content. The AMPTP also has advanced a controversial proposal to review all residuals with an aim of allowing studios to recoup some basic film and TV projects costs before paying on residual formulas.

Once resumed, the WGA-AMPTP talks are expected to continue almost nonstop -- except for weekends and four days in late September -- until a new collective bargaining agreement is in place or the guild's current film and TV pact with the AMPTP expires Oct. 31.

The parties will skip holding sessions Sept. 24-25 because of a WGA health and pension funds meeting. They also will bypass Sept. 27-28 because of a similar meeting at AFTRA, which AMPTP reps also are committed to attending.
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