Writers’ Guild Set to “Restart Negotiations” With AMPTP This Friday

After three months on the picket lines, the Writers Guild of America and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers may soon be heading back to the negotiating table. In a statement released by the WGA Tuesday night, it was confirmed chief negotiators on either side will be meeting this week to see if earnest talks can take place in the coming days.

“The AMPTP, through Carol Lombardini, reached out to the WGA today and requested a meeting this Friday to discuss negotiations,” the WGA shared in a statement (via Variety). “We’ll be back in communication with you sometime after the meeting with further information. As we’ve said before, be wary of rumors. Whenever there is important news to share, you will hear it directly from us.”

It’s expected a one-on-one meeting between Lombardini and WGA chief negotiator Ellen Stutzman will take place on Friday. The meeting is said to assess how both sides feel talks should proceed.

As Variety points out, other members of the WGA leadership have said they don’t expect talks to proceed unless initiated by the AMPTP, which now appears is the case.

“The plan is for them to call us on the phone and ask us to sit down,” Mike Schur, a member on the WGA negotiating committee, told the trade last month. “We’re not calling them.”

“We have made it clear that the things we’re asking for are absolutely necessary,” added David Goodman, co-chair of the negotiating committee. “Until they agree with that premise, there isn’t going to be a conversation that’s going to be fruitful.”

The WGA has been on strike since May 1, which means it will soon pass 100 days on the picket lines within the next 10 days. The longest work stoppage of screenwriters took place during the 1988 strike, which found writers striking for 154 days straight.

Interestingly enough, previous trade reporting suggested the AMPTP was willing to wait to negotiate until they were able to “break” the WGA.

“The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” the report cites an executive as telling Deadline. Another insider called the strategy “a cruel but necessary evil.” One executive told the outlet that strategy was agreed to “for months, even before the WGA went out” while another said that the studios are determined to “break the WGA”.