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Writers union and Hollywood will resume talks, aiming to end the strike

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By Jon Passantino and Chris Isidore, CNN

New York (CNN) — Hollywood studios on Tuesday asked the Writers Guild back to the negotiating table in the first known talks since the nearly 100-day strike brought production of most television shows and movies to a halt.

The meeting, sought by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) and scheduled for Friday, is the first potential sign of a thaw between the two sides and could offer a glimmer of hope for an end to the work stoppage. The Writers Guild represents more than 11,000 writers.

There are no talks scheduled yet with SAG-AFTRA, which represents 160,000 actors who also went on strike last month. The two sides have not met since the strike started late on the night of July 12.

“We are ready, willing and able to return to the table at any time,” said a statement from Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, SAG-AFTRA’s chief negotiator. “We have not heard from the AMPTP since July 12 when they told us they would not be willing to continue talks for quite some [time]. The only way a strike comes to an end is through the parties talking and we urge them to return to the table so that we can get the industry back to work as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for AMPTP could not provide any information about when talks might resume with the actors.

“We remain committed to finding a path to mutually beneficial deals with both unions,” said a statement from the management group.

A settlement would need to be reached with both unions before most movie and television production could resume. Late night television shows stopped airing new episodes with the start of the writers strike on May 2. And the traditional fall television season will be delayed at this point even if the both strikes ended immediately. But there have been concerns in the industries that the strikes could drag through to the end of the year.

This has been the best summer for movie ticket sales since the start of the pandemic. But many of the media and tech companies that make up AMPTP, including Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), CBS (VIAC), Disney (DIS), NBC Universal, Netflix (NFLX), Paramount Global, Sony (SNE) and CNN parent Warner Bros. Discovery, have been engaged in cost-cutting and deep job cuts even ahead of the two strikes, as they place a new emphasis to reach profitability on streaming services that many have started in recent years, rather than simply grow subscribers.

This is the first time that both unions have been on strikes together since 1960, so long ago that Ronald Reagan was then president of SAG, a predecessor of SAG-AFTRA. Both unions are making similar demands at the negotiating table, seeking better pay, improved residual payments, especially when shows air on streaming platforms, and protections against job losses due to the use of artificial intelligence.

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