One month into the writer’s strike, New York state assembly members and senators this week are asking the parties involved to resume negotiations.
Fifty-two members of the New York state assembly and senate sent letters to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America to make more of an effort to resolve the strike, the first in 15 years.
“We understand that, despite many weeks at the bargaining table, the AMPTP rejected a range of Writers Guild proposals that are essential to the well-being of writers in the episodic television, comedy-variety, and feature film areas,” the lawmakers said. “We call on the AMPTP, and its affiliated companies, to listen closely to what their writers are telling them about the difficulties in maintaining careers as streaming continues to transform the industry. We call on you to negotiate in good faith to reach a reasonable agreement with the Writers Guilds,” the letters continued.
Along with California, New York’s economy will suffer the most as long as the walkout continues. The strike, which began May 2, affects approximately 11,000 writers, mostly based in Hollywood and New York and has resulted in the shutdown of production on films, numerous scripted TV programs as well as the late night talk shows.
Bronx Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner penned the letter from the State Assembly, which was co-signed by 32 Assembly members. Queens State Sen. Jessica Ramos wrote the State Senate letter which included the signatures of 18 members of the Senate.
“The writers on strike aren’t just standing up for dignified wages. This contract fight gets to the heart of existential issues facing the future of work,” Ramos told “The Wrap.” “My colleagues and I are proud to stand with the Writers Guild in their demands for good faith bargaining.”
In the letters, the lawmakers noted that the strike was called right after the state had approved expanding New York’s film and television tax credit to attract more production.
“This film and television production incentive provides hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits every year to companies represented by the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers,” they said. “It is disturbing to note that the same companies that will benefit enormously from this expanded tax credit have failed to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the Writers Guilds of America, East and West, whose members are on strike across the country.”
As of now, the AMPTP is in contract talks with the Directors Guild of America and will begin negotiations with SAG-AFTRA next week. On Thursday, the WGA accused the AMPTP of “gaslighting” writers by taking a “divide and conquer” strategy in negotiations, claiming it is declining to return to the bargaining table because it is also in talks over a new contract with the DGA.
“Our position is clear: to resolve the strike,” the WGA said, “the companies will have to negotiate with the WGA on our full agenda.”