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Accusations Fly as Writers Strike Looms

11 Oct, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Representatives from The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW), the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) Oct. 11 continued to hurl accusations at each other as both sides attempted to hammer out a new labor agreement.

The current contract expires on Halloween. If no deal is reached, the WGA membership could go on strike similar to the one in 1988 that lasted six months and threatened production of TV shows.

Among issues are compensation and royalties for DVD; new media, which includes Web-based programming; and related legal matters.

AMPTP president Nick Coulter said the two sides remained “fundamentally apart” in regards to determining data relevant to the negotiations and companies covered by the contract.

“The [WGA] has raised a number of red herrings and irrelevant financial information,” Coulter said in a statement. “We believe they should focus on trying to reach an agreement with the production companies represented at the bargaining table.”

The Guild responded that it believed the AMPTP has thus far lacked candor in the negotiations.

“As we move toward our contract expiration on Oct. 31, we look forward to a serious discussion with the companies,” said the WGA, in a statement.

The parties have agreed to meet again Oct. 16.

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