The WGA Responds to the AMPTP


Today, after three days of discussions, the AMPTP came back to us with a proposal that included a total rejection of our proposal on Internet streaming of December 3.

They are holding to their offer of a $250 fixed residual for unlimited one year streaming after a six-week window of free use. They still insist on the DVD rate for Internet downloads.

They refuse to cover original material made for new media.

This offer was accompanied by an ultimatum: the AMPTP demands we give up several of our proposals, including Fair Market Value (our protection against vertical integration and self-dealing), animation, reality, and, most crucially, any proposal that uses distributor’s gross as a basis for residuals. This would require us to concede most of our Internet proposal as a precondition for continued bargaining. The AMPTP insists we let them do to the Internet what they did to home video.

We received a similar ultimatum through back channels prior to the discussions of November 4. At that time, we were assured that if we took DVD’s off the table, we would get a fair offer on new media issues. That offer never materialized.

We reject the idea of an ultimatum. Although a number of items we have on the table are negotiable, we cannot be forced to bargain with ourselves. The AMPTP has many proposals on the table that are unacceptable to writers, but we have never delivered ultimatums.

As we prepared our counter-offer, at 6:05 p.m., Nick Counter came and said to us, in the mediator’s presence: “We are leaving. When you write us a letter saying you will take all these items off the table, we will reschedule negotiations with you.” Within minutes, the AMPTP had posted a lengthy statement announcing the breakdown of negotiations.

We remain ready and willing to negotiate, no matter how intransigent our bargaining partners are, because the stakes are simply too high. We were prepared to counter their proposal tonight, and when any of them are ready to return to the table, we’re here, ready to make a fair deal.

John F. Bowman
Chairman, WGA Negotiating Committee
Contract 2007

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  • shanna

    Thanks for posting this. The AMPTP is very quick with their media spin and they are definitely trying to smear the WGA. It makes me wonder if they ever intended to negotiate fairly or if these last 2 weeks were just so they cold leave the table and try to blame the WGA again.

  • SimplyKimberly

    My fear was that the resumed negotiations post-Thanksgiving were purely for PR purposes. As more time goes by I am more convinced that the AMPTP has never desired to negotiate in good faith.

    I wish Google and Microsoft would step up to the plate and sign some deals with the writers to create original programming for the internet and cut the studios out of the process entirely. It would serve them right.

  • ewanspotter

    The more I read these things and the longer this goes on, the more greedy each side (yes, each side) seem.

  • Mel

    Sounds to me like there are personalities getting in the way of actual bargaining regarding these issues.
    So where are the grown-ups cuz the kids are not playing nice by themselves?

  • Amptp clearly is trying to union-bust the WGA.
    When you step back and look at this I don’t see how the Writers get labeled as greedy. All there asking for is fair compensation. The studios are basically saying “no” you’ll take what we give you and like it. Where is fair in that logic.
    The studios/amptp are incredibly GUILTY on this one.
    I have lost total respect for all the major studios.
    They refuse to give any compensation on Streaming media because they plan to make alot of money off it. Money they make on top of all the other money they make. Their rolling in Billions and they can’t throw a few cents to the people that create it ??? F*#K them!!! I wish everyone would stop watching tv all together. Especally the Nielsons.
    Example in greed:
    Star Trek the new DVD/HD season 1. Retails for 129.00.
    That’s allmost 120.00 buck pure profit. The discs alone cost less than 10 dollars to make. With profits like this you can see the Writers pov. They just want a little piece of the profits.
    Everyone reading this stop watching tv and support the writers. If the studios see that there reality shows are bombing it will make them notice.

  • Well now i know why VH1 just announced a new season of MY FAIR BRADY and a new season of FLAVOR OF LOVE