STRIKE BEGINS: WGA to Picket Monday After Sunday-Night Talks Break Off
No Further Talks Scheduled
By Ben Grossman & John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 11/5/2007 6:04:00 AM
Writers Guild of America members will hit the picket lines Monday as talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke off Sunday night without a deal.
AMPTP president Nick Counter issued the following statement late Sunday night: "Notwithstanding the fact that negotiations were ongoing, the WGA decided to start their strike in New York. When we asked if they would 'stop the clock' for the purpose of delaying the strike to allow negotiations to continue, they refused. We made an attempt at meeting them in a number of their key areas, including Internet streaming and jurisdiction in new media. Ultimately, the guild was unwilling to compromise on most of their major demands. It is unfortunate that they choose to take this irresponsible action."
The WGA later responded that on Sunday it had "completely withdrew its DVD proposal, which the companies said was a stumbling block."
It said the AMPTP still insisted on a list that includes:
• No jurisdiction for most new-media writing.
• No economic proposal for the part of new-media writing where they do propose to give coverage.
• Internet downloads at the DVD rate.
• No residual for streaming video of theatrical product
• A "promotional" proposal that allows them to reuse even complete movies or TV shows on any platform with no residual. This proposal alone destroys residuals.
• A "window” of free reuse on the Internet that makes a mockery of any residual.
The WGA statement added: "The AMPTP made no response to any of the other proposals that the WGA has made since July. The AMPTP proposed that today's meeting be 'off the record,' meaning no press statements, but they have reneged on that."
Also as of press time, the sides did not have any further talks scheduled.
Even as the sides were still talking Sunday night, the WGA was setting its picketing plans for Monday, which reportedly did not sit well with the AMPTP.
The Writers Guild of America East said it plans to have hundreds of members on the picket line at Rockfeller Plaza in New York Monday starting at 9 a.m.
The WGA West also outlined its plans, targeting 14 locations in Los Angeles. They are CBS Raford and Television City, Culver Studios, Disney Studios, Fox Studios, Hollywood Center Studios, NBC's Burbank location, Prospect Studios, Paramount Studios, Raleigh Studios Manhattan Beach, Sony Pictures Studios, Sunset Gower Studios, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. Studios.
The WGA's 12,000 members -- who write for sitcoms, dramas, daytime soaps, late-night, talk and movies -- voted Friday to strike as of 12:01 a.m.
Writers and producers failed to reach agreeement on a new contract, which expired Oct. 31.
For full coverage of the strike, click here.
Jeff Backo - 11/5/2007 8:54:00 PM EST
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