One day before negotiations originally were scheduled to end between the WGA and AMPTP, the labor tension in Hollywood is at a 10-year high. As the scribes now confirm Deadline’s exclusive of earlier today that a strike-authorization vote has been called, the producers shot back this evening with claims of bad faith from the other side of the table.
“The WGA broke off negotiations at an early stage in the process in order to secure a strike vote rather than directing its efforts at reaching an agreement at the bargaining table,” an Alliance of Motion Picture & Television spokesman told Deadline tonight. “Keeping the industry working is in everyone’s best interests, and we are ready to return to negotiations when they are.”
However, Deadline has learned that the AMPTP believed earlier that week that further talks would not be productive. The producers’ reps did not respond to requests for comment on this matter.
Earlier tonight, the WGA’s negotiators sent a letter to membership calling for a strike-authorization vote. It would not be a vote to strike but to authorize the guild’s board of directors to call a strike if further talks fail to produce a deal.
A strike vote had been looking like a real possibility this afternoon, according to Deadline’s Dominic Patten and David Robb, with one source with intimate knowledge of the ongoing talks saying, “That’s the way the wind is blowing.” A strike-authorization vote among senior WGA officials takes the situation to a precipice Hollywood has not really been at since 2007. Talks had been scheduled to continue Saturday, but that appears to be off.
Negotiations with the AMPTP on a new three-year film and TV contract began March 13 in an atmosphere some described as “tense,” while others called it “cordial.” The current contract expires May 1, so there is time to make a deal.
Erik Pedersen contributed to this report.