The issue of how writers are compensated in the age of streaming has escalated, with the Writers Guild of America urging its members to stage Hollywood’s first strike in 15 years. The WGA’s East and West Coast boards of directors have unanimously voted to call for a strike, which commenced at 12:01am on Tuesday, according to a statement by the union.
Thousands of WGA members planned to go on strike in Los Angeles, New York, and other cities on Tuesday as the union failed to come to an agreement with major studios for a new three-year contract that would replace the expired one from Monday night.
“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing,” the WGA said in a statement. “No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership.”
In a statement, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said it offered “generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals.”
The alliance, which bargains on behalf of the major studios, said it was prepared to improve the offer but was “unwilling to do so because of the magnitude of other proposals still on the table that the Guild continues to insist upon.” The alliance said primary sticking points included the guild’s demands over mandatory staffing levels and duration of employment.
The streaming revolution has dramatically transformed the television industry. Writers are quite rightly looking for a larger slice of the pie.
The members voted overwhelmingly to grant strike authorisation, with a historic margin of 98% to 2%. The leaders made this decision on behalf of the 11,500 members in case a new film and TV contract cannot be reached through negotiation.