Chris Keyser, co-chair of the Writers Guild of America negotiating committee, has shared a special message over the Labor Day holiday.
After acknowledging the WGA staff, who have “dedicated their working lives to the cause of writers and writing,” Keyser shared key points of the ongoing writers strike.
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“We all know the list by heart by now,” he said in the video message. “The erosion of pay. The abuse of screenwriters. The failure to protect Appendix A writers in the move to streaming. The dismantling of the writing process in episodic television. The threat of AI. The refusal to provide streaming residuals that grow with viewership. Each of these things is an existential issue for some or all of us.”
Keyser then stressed the importance of having all these issues resolved.
“Which is why we have said to the companies: writers have and will negotiate the solutions to these problems, but we’re not going to pick and choose amongst them,” he explained.” We’re not going to leave any sector of the Guild behind.”
Keyser continued, “These things must be resolved. And not with contract language that has a one-to-one ratio of promises to loopholes. Truly resolved.”
“Of course, that’s not the AMPTP way. And it’s a hard thing to give up on something that has served them so well for 40 years. They are in the process of wrestling amongst themselves, ramping up their public relations, and coming to terms with the fact that – with writers on strike – and actors on strike behind them – this negotiation is different. And they are going to have to do more – offer more – than they usually do. Much of our frustration with how long this is taking stems from that – from their internal bargaining. But they will get there.”
The writers strike, which began on May 2, reached the four-month mark on Saturday; the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers haven’t spoken in two weeks.
Back in June, Keyser said in a video message that the guild will continue to “fight on,” even if SAG-AFTRA and the Directors Guild of America reach an agreement with the AMPTP at the end of that month.
“Any deal that puts this town back to work runs straight through the WGA and there is no way around us,” Keyser said. “We are strong enough — we have always been strong enough — to get the deal we need with writer power alone.”
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