After twelve contentious days of refusing to communicate or negotiate, both the WGA and the AMPTP have announced they will return to the negotiating table the week after Thanksgiving! This doesn't mean the strike will let up, but here's a message from WGA West President Patric Verrone, sent to WGA members late last night...
"This evening the WGA and the AMPTP announced that we will resume negotiations on Monday, November 26. This announcement is a direct result of your efforts. It is the direct result of the hours you have spent on the picket lines, the days you've spent educating friends and colleagues, the boundless energy you've put into engaging with not only the Hollywood talent community, but people all over the country and the world. It is a direct result of your dedication to this union and to each other.
Over the past two weeks we have shown incredible resolve and resourcefulness. Every fifteen minutes someone sends me an e-mail with a new suggestion or a copy of a supportive news article or an entertaining and informative pro-writer YouTube video. Actors, local legislators, fans, and fellow members of the Hollywood workforce joined us in droves on our picketing lines this week. SAG's Alan Rosenberg and I were warmly welcomed in Washington D.C. and offered support from every member of Congress with whom we met. These developments all undoubtedly contributed to the decision to return to the table.
For 12 days I have repeated that a powerful strike means a short strike. In that time we have proven that bad news won't slow us down. Now it is equally important that we now prove that good news won't slow us down, either. We must remember that returning to the bargaining table is only a start. Our work is not done until we achieve a good contract and that is by no means assured. Accordingly, what we achieve in negotiations will be a direct result of how successfully we can keep up our determination and resolve."
Although the work stoppage isn't over, both sides were making progress when talks broke down on the evening of November 4, the day before the strike started almost two weeks ago. Can they pick up where they left off? Can they move forward swiftly and decisively? Who knows. Many of these answers may depend on how vigorously writers and their supporters continue to make noise and defend the rights they deserve.
One thing, however, is for sure... a major hurdle has been cleared, which means come this Thursday, we'll have something extra to be thankful for.