West News Wire: Film and television writers who are unionized have overwhelmingly approved granting their leaders the right to declare a strike if they are unable to come to an agreement on a new contract.
The Writers union of America’s bargaining committee informed its members via email on Monday that over 98% of the 9,218 votes were cast in favor of the strike, with nearly 79% of union members participating. A contract to address salary and other issues brought on by the dominance of streaming services is now being negotiated by the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
It read, “Our membership has spoken,” in the email. “In overwhelming numbers, you have demonstrated your collective strength, solidarity, and call for significant change.”
The writers’ three-year contract expires May 1, and leaders could call for a walkout the following day, but could extend the deadline if the two sides are close to a deal.
Issues in negotiations include pay, writers’ ability to work for different shows during downtime from other projects, and, according to Variety, the use of artificial intelligence in the script process.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which negotiates for studios, streaming services and production companies, said in a statement Monday that a “strike authorization vote has always been part of the WGA’s plan, announced before the parties even exchanged proposals. Its inevitable ratification should come as no surprise to anyone.”
“Our goal is, and continues to be, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement,” the statement said.
The writers’ voted for a similar strike authorization in nearly the same numbers in 2017, but a deal was reached before a strike was called. The guild last went on strike in 2007.