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Writers file complaint against AMPTP to Labor Board

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In an unusual move that’s sure to further the divide between producers and striking writers, the Writers Guild of America announced on Thursday that it has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers of refusing to bargain in good faith.

In a statement released to the press announcing the move, the WGA said, “It is a clear violation of federal law for the AMPTP to issue an ultimatum and break off negotiations if we fail to cave to their illegal demands. We are in the midst of the holiday season, with thousands of our members and the membership of other unions out of work. It is the height of irresponsibility and intransigence for the AMPTP to refuse to negotiate a fair agreement with the WGA. We reiterate our demand that the AMPTP immediately return to the negotiations, rather than going on vacation, so that this town can be put back to work.”

The WGA is specifically referring to the breakdown of negotiations on Dec. 7 when the AMPTP refused to continue negotiating unless the writers withdrew their proposal to unionize reality and animation writers. The WGA responded in the press by saying the AMPTP has a given those kinds of ultimatums in the past — specifically, the Guild claims they were told earlier in the talks to drop their demands on DVD revenue in order to get a fair offer on new media issues.

Within minutes of the writers’ announcing their one-page filing with the Labor Board, the AMPTP issued a response stating: “The WGA’s filing of a complaint reminds us of the old lawyers’ adage: when the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. And when you don’t have either the law or the facts on your side, you pound on the table. The WGA has now been reduced to pounding the table, and this baseless, desperate NLRB complaint is just the latest indication that the WGA’s negotiating strategy has achieved nothing for working writers.”

In the continued attempt to overtake the WGA in the ongoing PR war, the AMPTP has posted a running ticker on its website showing the estimated amount of money the writers are supposedly losing while they remain on the picket line. An AMPTP insider says the number is expected to hit $150 million by Dec. 28.

The WGA is specifically referring to the breakdown of negotiations on Dec. 7 when the AMPTP refused to continue negotiating unless the writers withdrew their proposal to unionize reality and animation writers. The WGA responded in the press by saying the AMPTP has a given those kinds of ultimatums in the past — specifically, the Guild claims they were told earlier in the talks to drop their demands on DVD revenue in order to get a fair offer on new media issues.

Within minutes of the writers’ announcing their one-page filing with the Labor Board, the AMPTP issued a response stating: “The WGA’s filing of a complaint reminds us of the old lawyers’ adage: when the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When the law is on your side, argue the law. And when you don’t have either the law or the facts on your side, you pound on the table. The WGA has now been reduced to pounding the table, and this baseless, desperate NLRB complaint is just the latest indication that the WGA’s negotiating strategy has achieved nothing for working writers.”

In the continued attempt to overtake the WGA in the ongoing PR war, the AMPTP has posted a running ticker on its website showing the estimated amount of money the writers are supposedly losing while they remain on the picket line. An AMPTP insider says the number is expected to hit $150 million by Dec. 28.