Last week, AMPTP met with the Writers’ Guild to talk about talking for the first time since the writers’ strike started. It didn’t go particularly well, but we’re over 100 days into this strike now, and not only is the WGA—and SAG-AFTRA—still incredibly engaged and determined, but public sentiment remains firmly entrenched on the side of the unions. 


Despite trying to sow discord through press talking points and trying to frame the double strike as “rich people getting richer”, the studios are consistently failing to capture positive public sentiment (did they miss all the guillotine and “eat the rich” memes of the last 3+ years? People are cheering on goddamn orcas, for pete’s sake, that’s how unpopular rich people are right now). 

But the vibes have shifted, because today, August 11, AMPTP and the WGA are meeting again to reopen formal negotiations, supposedly to start addressing at least some of the issues raised by the WGA leadership last week. This is good news and might signal the beginning of the end of the writers’ strike—which could mean the beginning of the end of actors’ strike, too, since the two unions are determined not to be “peeled off” so as to weaken the position of the other. If one makes a deal, the other union shouldn’t be far behind, as there are so many overlapping issues like streaming residuals and AI protections. 


What could have led to AMPTP reversing course in just one week? As of the August 4 meeting about meeting, it didn’t sound like they were ready or willing to budge on the core issues, and the WGA leadership seemed pretty pissed not to be met with a more sincere effort to move the needle toward reconciling. But this strike has now lasted longer than the strike of 2007-08, and the union shows no sign of waning. If anything, hot labor summer is catching, as the reality TV stars are starting to talk about unionizing—now with bonus SAG-AFTRA support—and VFX crews at Marvel have signaled intent to join IATSE, the union that represents tens of thousands of below-the-line crafts workers. It might be in management’s best interest to end these strikes and get them out of the news before the last non-union corners of the industry get organized.


It's a very cynical view, that to stop the pro-labor movement from spreading further in the industry, we will end these strikes now. Another view is that AMPTP might not want to risk actually “starving” anyone during the holidays. They’re already getting killed in the court of public opinion, can you imagine if SAG trotted out an elder sitcom star to talk about their penny-pinching Thanksgiving since their residuals dried up? Either way, in just one week, it seems something has changed. We’ve gone from the WGA leadership being furious that AMPTP seemingly hadn’t budged on the core issues, to AMPTP asking to reopen formal negotiations. Can’t wait to hear what kind of deal they’re offering now.