STRIKE COVERAGE: WGA/SAG Could Withstand Pre-Emptive Directors Deal, Say Unions

WGA West President Verrone: WGA, SAG Won't Budge Even if AMPTP Reaches DGA Deal

Writers Guild of America West president Patric Verrone said Wednesday that the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild aren’t planning on budging, even if the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers cuts a pre-emptive deal with the Directors Guild of America.

Verrone did acknowledge that a DGA deal was possible.“There’s always that chance,” he said. “If it is a good deal, fine. But the strategic alliance between the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild is strong enough to withstand a Directors Guild deal that does not address the issues that are important for working-class writers and actors and for which we have reasonable and fair proposals on the table."

Verrone also used a Capitol Hill and Federal Communications Commission visit Wednesday to once again claim that his organization is ready to go back to the table if certain demands about new-media residuals are met.

Verrone said his group is “prepared to go back to the table immediately as soon as the companies make it clear that they are willing to respond to the issues that are important to the association, leading with new media. We also just want to make sure that Congress and the FCC understand the challenge we are facing in bargaining with seven multichannel conglomerates.”

Verrone and SAG chief Alan Rosenberg were in Washington trying to get support in their strike against producers.

Verrone said none of the policymakers they met with offered to intervene on their behalf, and his purpose was just to educate them on his stance.

Rosenberg said the California delegation “made it clear that they understand full well the impact this has on the state and the city and L.A. and that is why they are anxious to arrive at some kind of resolution.”

At press time, they had met with California Democratic Reps. Barbara Boxer and Howard Berman, as well as Democratic FCC commissioner Michael Copps. Their itinerary included visits with California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman; FCC commissioners Robert McDowell (R) and Jonathan Adelstein (D); and House Commerce Committee chair John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Telecommunications Subcommittee chair Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

Verrone said of his meeting with Boxer, “It’s very clear that she understands the issues and has a sense that the best thing going forward is not a strike, so she agrees in that regard. We are hopeful of having her support, or at least that acknowledgement from her and the other members of the California delegation will have an impact.”

For full coverage of the strike, click here.