General News

WGA Extends Talks Before They Walk

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:51am EST

Can't we all just get along? Looks like we can.

In a last-ditch attempt to save the entertainment industry from a devastating strike, The Writers Guild of America has agreed to stretch their film and TV contract negotiations to today. WGA's generous gesture contradicts its original two-week deadline, but this sudden move is a promising sign that both sides are close to a settlement.

Negotiators have agreed to talk today, but no deadline has been set for this new round of discussion. When the bargaining began on January 22, the WGA issued a two-week deadline on talks. If there was no resolution within that time, WGA members vowed to pull the plug on further negotiation until a month before their contract expires on May 2. Moments after the meetings began at WGA headquarters, Writers Guild of America West president John Wells revised the terms by implying that talks could be extended if sufficient progress was made.

WGA's decision to extend the talks is a promising indication that they are close to an agreement. Executives from Disney, DreamWorks and Warner Brothers were also optimistic about the future of a deal. "It's been a positive sign that the talks have had so little leak out because it means both sides took them very seriously," a negotiator said.

WGA's main issues concern expansion of creative rights, Internet jurisdiction, and increased residuals for cable, video/DVD, Fox Broadcasting, foreign, and the WB and UPN networks.

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