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Writers going back to the table, sources say

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Spurred by the day-old employment contract negotiated by the Directors Guild, Hollywood's writers and the major studios agreed Friday to resume their negotiations in hopes of reaching an agreement that would end the 11-week-old strike, according to several people close to the matter.

Writers Guild of America leaders plan to meet as early as Monday with News Corp. President Peter Chernin and possibly other studio chiefs, reviving talks that fell apart early last month, these people said.

Representatives of the Writers Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, declined to comment on the meeting.

But in an interview Friday, Writers Guild of America President Practic M. Verrone acknowledged that his union was ready to re-engage.

“Everyone wants us to get back into negotiations, and that’s what we intend to do,” Verrone said.
Verrone declined to give his assessment of the DGA deal, saying guild officials were still studying its contents. The guild’s negotiating committee will meet Saturday to discuss the directors' contract and make recommendations to Verrone and Executive Director David Young on how to proceed in their upcoming negotiations.

Though the directors' deal falls short of what the writers were seeking, it generally received positive reviews from several negotiating committee members and top writers.

“I’m really impressed how mindful the DGA was that the deal had to be good enough to put the whole town back to work,’’ said writer-director Scott Frank (“Minority Report,” “The Interpreter”), a member of the Writers Guild board. “They were under enormous pressure and they seemed to have delivered.”

--Richard Verrier and Claudia Eller

 
Comments () | Archives (8)

The writers never left the table. The producers left the table. How could the writers be coming back to a table they never left. Oh, that's right, it's the LA Times . . .

I find this article just a bit twisty & misleading, implying that the writers were now ready to negotiate as a result of yesterday's DGA/AMPTP settlement, when it was, in fact, the AMPTP that walked away from the table on December 7th, delivering ultimatums and refusing outright to negotiate until writers removed numerous crucial cornerstones of their demands. The writers never walked away or refused to negotiate.

The writers have been willing all along to return to talks, with no ultimatums, and I think you've taken a quote from Mr. Verrone about being determined with renewed vigor to get the AMPTP back into negotiations and used it in connection with your statement that the WGA was ready to re-engage, thus implying that there was a time when they weren't - which is inaccurate.

This quote taken from the WGA/West website accurately expresses their attitude at this time, as yours does not: "For over a month, we have been urging the conglomerates to return to the table and bargain in good faith. They have chosen to negotiate with the DGA instead. Now that those negotiations are completed, the AMPTP must return to the process of bargaining with the WGA. We hope that the DGA's tentative agreement will be a step forward in our effort to negotiate an agreement that is in the best interests of all writers."

I don't find this article terribly surprising, though - I've noted that since the strike began, with the exception of Patrick Goldstein and several other writers, most of the l.A. Times coverage of the strike reads as just a little negative about and slanted against the writers and their strike.

Ah, well - maybe the WGA should have taken out big, costly ads in your paper, like the Bix Six does...

The lost wages are gone forever, never to be made up by any amount of future earnings by any deal. The "powers that be" at WGA underestimated their bargaining power and by end them, lost the fight. The higher ups win, the low-level workers still suffer. Remember the Grocery Store strike? Those people are still paying for their leaders blunders.

The lost wages are gone forever, never to be made up by any amount of future earnings by any deal. The "powers that be" at WGA underestimated their bargaining power and by end them, lost the fight. The higher ups win, the low-level workers still suffer. Remember the Grocery Store strike? Those people are still paying for their leaders blunders.

The WGA was not holding up negotiations. It was the AMPTP that walked out and stopped negotiations. Could the L.A. Times please elaborate on whether this round of negotiations will be between the WGA and the AMPTP, or directly with the studios? If the latter, that would be a clear indication that the AMPTP failed to represent its members and is obsolete.

Convenient timing. The AMPTP strikes a deal with the DGA and is now prepared to re-open negotiations with the WGA immediately after they force majeure the studio writer and producer deals out of existence.

Once the WGA deal is closed (and I suspect it will be soon), there needs to be an immediate investigation into the AMPTP's bad faith negotiations. If I'm right, this could end up costing the studios and networks a lot more than money.

From the Front Page of the today’s New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/19/arts/television/19writers.html?em&ex=1200978000&en=57740ee082a274e9&ei=5087%0A

Let’s see…one of the WGA negotiators managed to “negotiate” a company’s business right out of the country. And you want him handling YOUR futures? Better do some rethinking.


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