Writer’s Guild Approves Strike Authorization as Deadline Closes In

The Writer’s Guild of America has voted to authorize its union leaders to strike beginning next month, if a deal cannot be reached with Hollywood studios and producers for a revised payment structure and better health benefits.

According to Deadline, a vast majority (96.3 percent) of the Guild’s 6,310 writers voted in favor of strike action, with an overall record turnout of 67.5 percent of eligible members, as negotiations with the Alliance Of Motion Picture & Television Producers has so far failed to reach a conclusion.

“We thank you for your resolve and your faith in us as your representatives,” the 2017 negotiating committee said in announcing the results on Monday. “We are determined to achieve a fair contract. Talks will resume tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, the AMPTP said in a statement that “[both sides] are committed to reaching a deal at the bargaining table that keeps the industry working. We remain focused on our objective of reaching a deal with the WGA at the bargaining table when the Guild returns on April 25th.”

Some of the key demands from the Guild include increased contractual pay, as well as improved compensation packages and health care plans. However, negotiations have already twice broken down, after both sides walked away in late March when the guild claimed that producers balked at their demands.

Should the sides fail to reach a deal, work will grind to a halt on both scripted and late-night television, and a range of shows could be pulled off the air, including late-night staples likes Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and Late Show with Stephen Colbert, to name a few.

“In the event that we are unable to negotiate a new contract with the AMPTP, a work stoppage will begin May 2. Should this occur, writing for television, feature films and digital series will cease,” the Guild warned in a letter sent to advertisers in March.

The last strike undertaken by the Writer’s Guild was in 2007 and lasted roughly 100 days, with a report from the UCLA Anderson School of Management estimating it cost the industry $380 million and led to a loss of about 25 percent of scripted series programming.

 

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