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Hollywood writers vote to strike

Hollywood writers strike news

The Writers Guild of America is demanding fair pay for its members.

Hollywood is bracing for what could be the first industry-wide writers strike in 15 years after the Writers Guild of America (WGA) overwhelmingly voted in favor of a walkout over contract negotiations with major studios on Monday.

The decision comes as the WGA – which represents some 11,500 film and television writers – has been demanding increased pay for its members from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which bargains on behalf of Hollywood’s largest studios. The two sides have failed to reach a new agreement so far and the current contract is set to expire on May 1.

The potential strike was approved in a vote that saw over 9,200 ballots cast, representing nearly 80% of all WGA union members, with 97.85% voting in favor. The union, however, has yet to officially announce the walkout and the vote was only meant to authorize the strike.

“Our membership has spoken. Writers have expressed our collective strength, solidarity and the demand for meaningful change in overwhelming numbers,” the WGA declared in a statement.

The WGA has repeatedly insisted that pay for writers has essentially stagnated over the past decade, despite the industry-wide shift to streaming, which has led to more television shows going into production. The union has also pointed out that while many of its writers have experienced decreases in pay, studios have nevertheless continued to report record annual profits.

“Writers are working more weeks for less money,” veteran writer and producer and WGA member Eric Haywood told the New York Times. “And in some cases, veteran writers are working for the same money or, in some cases, less money than they made just a few years ago.”

The AMPTP, meanwhile, has dismissed the strike vote authorization as “no surprise to anyone” and has urged the WGA to come back to the negotiating table to search for “reasonable compromises.”

Meanwhile, Hollywood executives have reportedly begun preparing for a strike by stockpiling scripts and lining up a “torrent” of reality shows that do not need script writers, according to the NYT.

The last major writers’ strike occurred in 2007-2008 and lasted for 100 days, with all 12,000 WGA walking out. The move cost the industry an estimated $2.1 billion and resulted in many productions being cut short, postponed or canceled altogether. The unexpected shut down of nearly all scripted television productions also saw hundreds of thousands of support staff lose their jobs.

Image credit: Edgar Colomba

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Source:RT News

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