Members of the Writers Guild of America East are joined by SAG-AFTRA members as they demonstrate at the Warner Bros. Discovery NYC office on July 13, 2023 in New York City.

Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

The Writers Guild of America said Monday that the union would resume negotiations with Hollywood studios on Wednesday as the production freeze extends across the television and film business.

The announcement comes on the 139th day of the strike, which began on May 2nd. The union urged its members to continue joining the picket lines while talks resume. “You may not hear from us in the coming days as we negotiate, but know that our focus is on reaching a fair deal for authors as quickly as possible,” WGA said.

A spokesman for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the companies, confirmed the discussions but had no further comment.

Dual writer and actor strikes have halted production on several big-name shows and films such as “Stranger Things,” Disney and Marvel’s “Blade,” AppleTV+’s “Severance,” and Paramount’s “Evil.” Manufacturing companies also suffered a financial blow as a result of the strikes. Warner Bros. Discovery warned investors last week of a $300 million to $500 million drop in profits due to ongoing strikes.

There could also be further labor unrest in Hollywood. Last week, Marvel Studios’ VFX artists voted unanimously to join the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees union. Now the newly formed union is in negotiations with Marvel, which is owned by Disney, to work out a contract.

Elsewhere, actor Drew Barrymore and comedian Bill Maher drew widespread criticism when they announced the return of their talk shows despite the WGA strike. Both Barrymore and Maher reversed their decisions this week following the backlash.

When the WGA last went on strike in 2007, an agreement was not reached until 100 days after the February 2008 walkout. The WGA represents 11,500 film and television screenwriters.

The WGA calls for standardized compensation and residual amounts for streaming and theatrical releases. She also wants higher contributions to pension insurance and health insurance. As artificial intelligence has become more important in the last year, the union is also calling on the AMPTP to regulate the use of material created using AI.

What about the SAG-AFTRA strike?

Despite the apparent progress between the WGA and the AMPTP, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which began the strike on July 14, have not indicated a time when they will enter negotiations would return table.

SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, media presenters, dancers and other media professionals. SAG-AFTRA is currently granting some independent U.S.-based projects the opportunity to begin production under a tentative agreement.

SAG-AFTRA’s willingness to negotiate with the AMPTP may depend on the outcome of negotiations with the WGA.

“SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating team remains ready to return to the bargaining table at any time to reach a fair deal,” the union said in August. “Unfortunately, as we have learned from recent news from the WGA negotiations, it appears that the AMPTP is still unwilling to make the necessary concessions to reach a fair agreement that would end the strikes.”

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is a member of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The AMPTP is currently negotiating with striking writers and actors in Hollywood.

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