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Writers Reject 'Last' Offer by Producers; Strike Today

March 07, 1988|MICHAEL CIEPLY | Times Staff Writer

Directors of the Writers Guild of America meeting in Los Angeles and New York on Sunday, voted unanimously to reject what the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers called its "last" offer for a new three-year contract with about 9,000 motion picture and television writers.

Guild spokesmen at the union's headquarters in West Hollywood said a writers' strike will begin at 9 a.m. today.

The guild had already scheduled "informational picketing" to begin at 10 a.m. today at 20th Century Fox Film Corp. in Century City.

Talks between the guild negotiators and about 200 movie and TV companies represented by the alliance had continued throughout the weekend at alliance headquarters in Sherman Oaks.

Last week, guild members overwhelmingly authorized their directors to call a strike after union negotiators recommended that members reject what the producers had previously called a final contract offer. The writers' previous contract expired a week ago today. Major points in dispute include payments for TV programs sold overseas; residual payments on syndicated reruns of one-hour episodes of TV series; so-called "overscale" payments for scripts, and "creative rights" giving writers more control over the results of their work.

The first effect of a guild walkout would be on daily TV shows--soap operas, game shows and such talk-comedy shows as NBC's "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" and "Late Night With David Letterman."

But a long strike would also affect theatrical film production and prime-time TV series. A three-month guild walkout in 1981 delayed the start of the new TV season that year by two months.

The walkout will be the second in three years by the guild.

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