Writer’s Strike About To Shut Down Hollywood?

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has called for a strike authorization vote.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

hollywood strike

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has called for a strike authorization vote. The decision comes after two weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. According to the union, the AMPTP responded poorly to core economic issues impacting primary work areas like screen, episodic and comedy-variety television.

“The studios need to respond to the crisis writers face,” the union said in a statement via Deadline. “WGA members must demonstrate our willingness to fight for the contract writers need and deserve by supporting a strike authorization vote.” The process will begin on April 11 at 8:30 pm PT and end on April 17 at 12:00 pm PT.

In a post on social media, the WGA said a strike is necessary as the survival of their profession is at stake. “Over the past decade, the companies embraced business practices that slashed our compensation and undermined our working conditions,” the union said before calling its members to take action.

WGA committee member Luvh Rakhe also encouraged his counterparts to attend the meetings before and during the strike voting period. “We are asking for your yes vote to support our shared goals in this negotiation,” he said in a video posted to the Writers Guild of America Contract website. “We want to make sure you can cast an informed ballot,” Rakhe continued.

A WGA strike can only begin after members’ contracts with various studios and streamers expire on May 1. The Writers Guild of America is a labor firm representing professional writers in the motion picture, broadcast, and digital industries. The union has a long history of organizing strikes to negotiate better wages, benefits, and working conditions for its members.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) embarked on a strike for the first time in 1960, winning the right for writers to receive a share of revenue when films were leased or sold to broadcast television. In 1973, writers downed tools once more for a “guaranteed share” from sales of cable television subscriptions.

In 1988, the WGA went on strike against major U.S television and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers-backed film studios. It lasted for five months, with writers losing $500 million in salaries and studios losing $1 billion in production costs. The 2007/2008 Writers Guild of America strike was the most recent industrial action.

It lasted for 100 days and affected several television shows set to air during the 2007/2008 season. The WGA decided to strike over compensation for digital media and residuals for television shows and movies distributed on DVD and the Internet. The strike ended in February 2008 after the union reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP.

It remains to be seen if the 2023 negotiations will produce the desired results, as the WGA strike aims to boost compensation through higher wage floors. The union also hopes to standardize compensation for screenwriting across streaming and theatrical platforms. The new vote may accelerate negotiations when the union meets with AMPTP for another round of discussions.

Interestingly, the Writers Guild of America is considered the union most willing to participate in negotiations with employers. Hopefully, both parties can reach a fair agreement before a WGA strike impacts any of our favorite television shows.