The Writers Guild of America sent an email to its members on Thursday morning with a brief but hopeful message regarding the prospect of restarting negotiations with the AMPTP to resolve the WGA writers strike.
The email reads: “Dear Members, Carol Lombardini has asked the WGA Negotiating Committee to meet with AMPTP negotiators on Friday. We expect the AMPTP to provide responses to WGA proposals. Our committee returns to the bargaining table ready to make a fair deal, knowing the unified WGA membership stands behind us and buoyed by the ongoing support of our union allies. We will get back to you. In Solidarity, WGA Negotiating Committee.”
The news follows last week's disappointing initial sit-down between the head of the AMPTP, Carol Lombardini and the WGA West’s Chief Negotiator Ellen Stutzman and her General Counsel Tony Segall, when Lombardini proved unwilling to address most writer demands despite calling for the meeting.
Now, the fact that Lombardini is calling for another meeting raises the hope that the AMPTP is at least willing to entertain the WGA's proposals and respond to them.
Yesterday marked an unfortunate milestone in the writers strike — the 100th day of the work stoppage. That was how long the WGA writers strike of 2007/2008 lasted, and the current strike is now fast approaching the longest writers strike ever (154 days in 1988). Given this backdrop, any willingness by the studios to get back to the negotiating table with the writers should be viewed with a grain of salt, but also as a cautiously optimistic sign — hopefully both sides are getting serious about trying to end this standoff fairly.
NOTE: Josh Silverstein is a member of the WGA, West.