Interim Pact Reached in Writers Strike

Times Staff Writers

After 16 hours of bargaining that finally ended shortly after 6 a.m. today, the Writers Guild of America and management reached tentative agreement on a contract that could end the guild's strike against the motion picture and TV industry by next Tuesday.

Guild officials, a guild spokesman said, will "strongly recommend" that the striking writers approve the proposed three-year agreement Monday night, when the guild's members are scheduled to meet in Los Angeles, hear details of the contract and vote on it.

Monday's guild meeting is set for 8 p.m. at the Hollywood Palladium, a spokesman said, while the East Coast members of the guild will vote Monday night at the Warwick Hotel in New York City. About 5,000 members here and another 2,000 in New York are eligible to vote, the guild says.

Guild members, who struck the film and TV industry for 13 weeks in 1981, voted last Friday here and Monday in New York to reject the previous contract offer management made on Feb. 28 and to go on strike. Their walkout began at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday. Prior to today's tentative settlement, they had planned to start picketing Tuesday, starting at CBS' Television City in West Hollywood.

Plans Are 'on Hold'

"Everything's on hold now," guild spokesman Joe Sutton said when asked about those plans.

By mutual agreement, neither the guild nor management--the latter represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers--would disclose details of the new contract until guild negotiators presented it to the membership at Monday night's meetings.

But each side "dealt with everything that was of concern to both parties," said Chuck Weseinberg, a spokesman for the alliance. He declined to elaborate further.

Mum on Profit Sharing

Neither he nor the guild would comment on whether the tentative settlement included one of the major issues in the strike--the writers' share of profits from the billion-dollar market for pre-recorded videotape cassettes of films and television programs.

The guild-management negotiations, which began at 2 p.m. Thursday at the alliance's offices in Sherman Oaks, were brought about by federal mediator Leonard Farrell, who had asked both sides to meet with him in an effort to avoid a long, costly strike.

It was uncertain whether a quick end of the walkout would allow resumption of production in New York of NBC's top-rated "The Cosby Show," which because of the strike was forced to cancel production of the last three of its 25 episodes scheduled for this season.

NBC Discusses Resumption

NBC executives were discussing that this morning, said NBC spokesman Curt Block, as well as five other NBC programs most immediately affected by the strike--among them "Hill Street Blues," Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" and "Late Night With David Letterman."

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