Thousands of film and television writers will take to the picket lines on Tuesday to demand pay raises and other benefits in Hollywood’s first strike in 15 years.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced that its 11,500 screenwriter members in California, New York, and other cities will refuse to work after the union and studios failed to reach an agreement on a new 3-year contract just after midnight.
The WGA board of directors, who voted unanimously to strike, claimed that the leading companies have made it difficult for writers to find steady work. the WGA said in a statement that “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.”
The labor union continued “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.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents the major studios and production companies, said it offered writers “generous increases in compensation… as well as improvements in streaming residuals.”
The alliance, which negotiates on behalf of the major players, stated that it was willing to improve its offer “but was unwilling to do so due to the magnitude of other proposals still on the table that the guild continues to insist on.”
The vast majority of writers represented by the WGA voted to authorize a strike, with 98% in favor and only 2% opposed.