Can Federal Mediator Help to Avert Writers Strike?

WGA, AMPTP Not Scheduled to Meet Again Until Tuesday

Negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will unsurprisingly go down to the wire as the sides aren’t set to meet again until Tuesday.

That meeting will see the government step in, as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service assigned a mediator to join the talks.

Most television-industry executives continue to view the situation with pessimism -- a feeling that isn’t helped by the fact the two parties won’t sit across from each other again until the day before the expiration of the current deal between the sides.

While the WGA could walk Thursday, it has given no indication if and when it is planning to do so should a deal not get done.

After wrapping talks Friday, the WGA issued the following statement: "This morning, we responded to the package presented yesterday by the AMPTP. We agreed to several of their proposals and withdrew or modified a number of our own proposals in order to narrow the areas in dispute. We also proposed a smaller working group to address several enforcement proposals made by both sides. The AMPTP caucused for more than four hours and returned with a package that included new rollbacks related to our pension and health funds. They rejected our modified proposals and ignored our working-group offer. They then informed us that they are not comfortable meeting at the WGA and insisted that negotiations return to the AMPTP. They declined to meet again until Tuesday. This means only two days remain to resolve the substantive issues of this negotiation before Wednesday night's contract deadline."

AMPTP president Nick Counter kept things decidedly more brief.

"We worked very hard to narrow the issues and reach an agreement but many issues remain unresolved," he said in a statement. "We will meet Tuesday with the federal mediator who has been assigned by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service."