April 29, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Los Angeles, CA – Members of the Writers Guild of America voted overwhelmingly Apr. 24 to authorize a strike if the union can’t negotiate a contract with major Hollywood studios and broadcast-TV networks.
The WGA’s agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers will expire May 1. The union said 96.3% of the members who voted backed authorizing a walkout, about two-thirds of the roughly 9,400 who’d worked enough in the industry to be eligible. “None of us want a strike,” negotiating committee co-chair Chris Keyser said in a union podcast before the vote, but the guild needs to show management “either the threat of or the actual practice of a strike.” A statement from the studios said that writers lost millions of dollars during the 100-day walkout in 2007, and many “took out strike loans to make ends meet.” Key issues include winning a raise, bigger residuals for streamed shows, increased employer contributions to its struggling health plan, and modifying the “exclusivity” rule that prevents writers from working on more than one series at a time. The WGA says the average salary for a TV writer-producer has fallen by 23% in the last two years. Read more