Hollywood hit news. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced late tonight that it would be on strike.
After negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed, the union said it would begin picketing tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. PT.
The board of directors of the @WGAwest and the Council of @WGAeastacting on the authority conferred on them by their memberships, voted unanimously to call a strike, effective at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, May 2.
— Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) May 2, 2023
“Although we negotiated the intention to reach a fair deal – and although your strike vote gave us the power to make gains – the studios’ responses to our proposals have been woefully inadequate, given the existential crisis at hand. that writers face,” the WGA said in a message to members.
The announcement came three hours before the official expiration of their new film and scripted television contract. The last WGA strike dates back to 2007-2008. It lasted 100 days. More than 11,000 TV and film screenwriters are expected to leave work.
What the WGA wants
The Writer’s Guild is asking for several changes in its new contract, including:
- Increased remuneration for streaming and new media.
- End the practice of mini-rooms, smaller writing rooms where a showrunner and a limited group of writers develop scripts for minimal compensation.
- Increase in contributions to health and pension plans
- More control over the work of writers
With the advent of streaming services, writers say they need a contract that reflects the changing times.
“Writers at all levels and in all genres, whether it’s feature films or television, we’re all devalued and financially exploited by studios,” Danny Tolli, a writer whose credits include “Roswell, New Mexico” and the Shondaland show “The Catch” told The New York Times. “These studios make billions in profits, and they spend billions on content – content that we create with our blood, sweat and tears.”
— Nick Mandernach (@ManderNick) May 2, 2023
The studios push back
AMPTP, which represents studios and broadcasters including Amazon, Apple, CBS, Disney, NBCUniversal, Netflix, Paramount Global, Sony and Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement that it offered a “full package proposal.” According to The Hollywood Reporter, sticking points included the guild’s proposals for minimum editorial staff size and a minimum number of employment times.
The strike caused a mad scramble in Hollywood.
“Across town, agents and producers are rushing to get deals done before midnight, so in some cases some scribes can get one last paycheck, we hear,” Deadline wrote.
As of now, it’s unclear which shows and productions will be affected by a WGA strike, but the powerful Teamsters union has said its members are “not crossing picket lines”.
talk shows like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon will not be recording new episodes starting Tuesday night.