- Writers for Hollywood commence strike
Thousands of Hollywood television and movie writers will go on strike Tuesday, their union said, after talks with studios and streamers over pay and other conditions ended without a deal.
The strike means late-night shows could immediately grind to a halt, and television series and movies scheduled for release later this year and beyond may face major delays.
Writers Guild of America board members “acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike,” the organization tweeted.
Studios’ responses to its demands had been “wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing,” the writers’ union said.
It came after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing studios including Disney and Netflix, said in a statement that negotiations “concluded without an agreement.”
The last time Hollywood writers laid down their pens and keyboards, in 2007, the strike lasted for 100 days, costing the Los Angeles entertainment industry around $2 billion.
This time, the two sides are clashing as writers demand higher pay and a greater share of profits from the boom in streaming, while studios say they must cut costs due to economic pressures.
The WGA accused studios of seeking to create a “gig economy,” in which writing would be “an entirely freelance profession.”
The AMPTP said it had offered a “comprehensive package proposal” including higher pay for writers.
But it was unwilling to improve that offer further “because of the magnitude of other proposals still on the table that the Guild continues to insist upon.”
– Streaming ‘residuals’ –
Writers say it is becoming impossible to earn a living, as salaries have flatlined or declined after inflation, even as employers reap profits and fatten executives’ paychecks.
More writers than ever are working at the union-mandated minimum wage, while shows hire fewer people to script ever-shorter series.
The AMPTP statement said WGA demands for “mandatory staffing” that would require studios to hire a set number of writers “for a specified period of time, whether needed or not” was a major sticking point.