Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Labor Talks Don't Resume. Big Surprise.

Remember when the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers was slamming the WGA for not negotiating early? Remember how the AMPTP and WGA were only taking a short break because the Teamsters negotiations had to get finished?

If you don't, it's a fact anyway. And the Teamsters deal has been wrapped up with a bow and sent out for ratification, so the wga-amptp talks should be kicking back into gear, right?


Billed as a brief hiatus for the crafts talks, it now appears that the break in negotiations with the WGA might stretch beyond Labor Day. Blame a surfeit of logistical challenges and a shortage of compelling reasons for re-engaging, sources said.

Screw the sources. If you believe studio gossip, it's not the logistics that are slowing down any restart. It's the fact that the parties are a couple of hundred light years apart.

I had lunch earlier in the week with a bunch of studio people. An exec from one of the congloms said:

"It's a mess, total mess. The WGA wants a big cut of all the new platforms they think are going to be big revenue streams, and the studios don't want to give it to them.

Everybody is pretty much expecting a strike. At best, there'll be a de facto strike."

Most people, it seems, are expecting the obvious scenario: No agreement at the expiration of the Writers Agreement. No walkout by writers. Long wait to see how the SAG talks go. And if SAG walks, the WGA walks.

The Wild Card, as always, is the Directors Guild of America, which is prone to negotiating early, reaching an agreement that serves its members, and (often, but not always) undercutting the bargaining positions of the WGA and SAG.

Maybe not this time, however. We get to wait and see.


Anonymous said...

Once again -- thank you for keeping track of this situation.


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