Writers’ Strike Continues After “Lecture” From Bob Iger and Team During Negotiations

WGA strike lecture negotiations

It’s been more than 100 days since Hollywood writers stepped away from their computers and stepped onto the picket lines. The Writers Guild of America announced that its thousands of writers would be on strike after the Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to agree on a new contract. The strike is on its way to becoming the longest writers’ strike in history.

Writers Strike

Credit: Josie Huang Twitter

At the heart of the WGA strike is the use of artificial intelligence and smaller paychecks caused by streaming. The WGA is asking for new contracts that promise writers will not be replaced with AI. They also want guaranteed durations and minimum staffing requirements on all shows. The Guild is also demanding that studios be more transparent in sharing streaming data. That data can affect how much the writer’s make in residuals — another point of contention.

WGA Strike

Credit: Diane Greene Lent, Flickr

There have been several meetings between the WGA and the AMPTP, with the most recent talks happening on August 11. About a week after the meeting, the AMPTP sent out a new contract offer to the guild. However, in a somewhat surprising move, the studios’ negotiating team also released the details of the contract to the public. That angered the WGA, who felt the move was an attempt to force them into an agreement.

Disney Actors residuals stories are horrifying

Credit: Herman de Keyperling, Flickr

In a newly released memo, WGA leaders said that the AMPTP met with them, “not to bargain, but to jam us.”

“On Monday of this week, we received an invitation to meet with Bob Iger, Donna Langley, Ted Sarandos, David Zaslav, and Carol Lombardini. It was accompanied by a message that it was past time to end this strike and that the companies were finally ready to bargain a deal. We accepted that invitation and, in good faith, met tonight, in hopes that the companies were serious about getting the industry back to work. Instead, on the 113th day of the strike — and while SAG-AFTRA is walking the picket lines by our side — we were met with a lecture about how good their single and only counteroffer was.

[The AMPTP] explained all the ways in which their counter’s limitations and loopholes and omissions failed to sufficiently protect writers from the existential threats that caused us to strike in the first place. We told them that a strike has a price, and that price is an answer to all — and not just some — of the problems they have created in the business. But this wasn’t a meeting to make a deal. This was a meeting to get us to cave, which is why, not 20 minutes after we left the meeting, the AMPTP released its summary of their proposals. This was the companies’ plan from the beginning — not to bargain, but to jam us. It is their only strategy — to bet that we will turn on each other.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Credit: Thomas Hawk, Flickr

One of the key players in negotiation talks is Disney CEO Bob Iger. During the third quarter earnings call, Iger said that he was “personally committed” to ending both the WGA strike and the Screen Actors Guild strike, which began in mid-July. His comments were decidedly different from the stance he took just one day before SAG joined the WGA. In an interview with CNBC, Iger said that some strike demands were not “realistic”. He has been facing intense backlash ever since.

Neither the guild nor the AMPTP has said when negotiations will resume. There is also no set date for the AMPTP to meet with SAG leaders to discuss how to end the SAG strike.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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