Screenwriters and Studios Negotiate in Hours Before Strike Deadline

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During the last Hollywood strike, a 100-day walkout by the Writers Guild of America in 2007, two picketers outside Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles carried life-size cutouts of the actors Marlon Brando, left, and James Dean. Credit Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Screenwriters and entertainment companies held contract talks in the final hours before a strike deadline on Monday, as union loyalists flooded Twitter with messages of resolve and as the rest of Hollywood held its collective breath.

As of midafternoon, negotiators for the Writers Guild of America, West, and the Writers Guild of America, East, were still meeting with their studio counterparts. Studios had made a new offer on Sunday — one reflecting improvements in some areas (health care) and scant movement in others (raises for Netflix and Amazon Prime shows) — and the unions came back Monday with a counteroffer, according to three people briefed on the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private meetings. These people said the unions’ latest proposals varied little from previous ones.

The writers’ contract expires at midnight Pacific Daylight Time on Monday.

The unions and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of studios, have declined to comment on the state of negotiations while adhering to a news media blackout. But union members, including one involved with talks, posted messages on Twitter using the hashtag #wgaunity. Some fans and members of other Hollywood unions joined them.

“Our demands remain reasonable, affordable and fair,” wrote Billy Ray, a member of his union’s negotiating committee whose credits include the Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips” and the coming Amazon series “The Last Tycoon.” Eileen Conn, whose credits include the Disney Channel series “K. C. Undercover” and the 1990s sitcom “Just Shoot Me,” posted a photo of Sally Field as the title character from the film “Norma Rae” and wrote: “We are strong! We are united!”

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Source: New York Times

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