Home Entertainment Writers Guild of America to strike; picketing to begin Tuesday

Writers Guild of America to strike; picketing to begin Tuesday


More than 11,000 unionized television and movie writers will go on strike starting Tuesday in a move that could bring Hollywood studios and networks to a halt.

The Writers Guild of America’s decision to carry out the first industry-wide strike in 15 years comes after weeks of negotiations over writer compensation between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents Hollywood production companies.

“Though our Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing,” the WGA said on Twitter, adding it had pulled the trigger after six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony.

Companies have used the transition to streaming as an excuse to undervalue writers, the WGA said, “worsening working conditions for series writers at all levels” while streaming services such as Netflix profit.

Last month, the guild announced that nearly 98 percent of its voting members had authorized a potential walkout. The guild’s goals for the new contract, which expired at midnight Pacific time, had included raising writers’ minimum wages and ensuring that the compensation and residuals for writers whose projects appear only on streaming services are paid in line with those whose work is in theaters.

The AMPTP responded to the decision, saying in a statement that it had offered “generous increases in compensation” but that “the primary sticking points” were guild proposals for companies to staff shows with a certain number of writers for a certain amount of time, regardless of the need. The group said it is open to continuing negotiations.

The last time the guild authorized a strike was in 2017, but the WGA and the studios were able to hammer out a deal at the 11th hour. The most recent agreement was settled in 2020. This year’s strike authorization vote had the highest approval rate and turnout of any in the WGA’s history.

Samantha Chery and Anne Branigin contributed to this report.

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