The Writers Guild of America is on strike.
“Though we negotiated intent on making a fair deal – and though your strike vote gave us the leverage to make some gains – the studios’ responses to our proposals have been wholly insufficient, given the existential crisis writers are facing,” the WGA said in a message sent directly to members just now. “We must now exert the maximum leverage possible to get a fair contract by withholding our labor,” the guild leadership added. “Members of the Negotiating Committee, Board and Council will be out with you on the picket lines.”
News of the strike, which takes effect in a few hours, came late Monday after the guild’s negotiations with the AMPTP failed to reach an agreement on a new film and scripted TV contract. It’s the WGA’s first strike since the 100-day walkout of 2007-08.
Less than an hour after talks with the studios ended and over three hours before their current contract officially expires, the guild also made a public announcement of the labor action :
Following the unanimous recommendation of the WGA Negotiating Committee, the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) and the Council of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01 AM, Tuesday, May 2.
The decision was made following six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony under the umbrella of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The WGA Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, but the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing.
The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing. From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a “day rate” in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession. No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership.
(Excerpt) Read more in: Deadline