The roughly 12,000 members of the Writers Guild of America will vote today and over the coming days on whether to authorize a strike.
The WGA is engaged in discussions with the Alliance of Motion Picture
and Television Producers, which represents major studios, networks and
independent producers. The two groups are at odds over such issues as
compensation and benefits.
Writers Seek Higher Wages, Better Health And Pension Plans
The writers are seeking wage hikes, higher residual payments and greater
contributions to their health and pension plans. The studios are balking at
the guild’s demands.
On Monday, the WGA and the AMPTP suspended talks on a new labor
agreement, scheduling them to resume April 25, the day after the strike-
authorization vote ends. Negotiations between the WGA and the major studios
began March 13 and lasted nearly two weeks, then resumed April 10.
This marked the second time that negotiations have fallen through. The
two sides walked away from the table March 24 after the guild said producers
balked at their demands. The producers claimed that the writers walked away
first, which the guild has denied.
The Last Strike In 2007 Lasted 100 Days
The last time the WGA struck was in 2007, with a work stoppage that
lasted 100 days and brought much of the Hollywood industry to a halt.
If members approve a strike, as they almost certainly will, and no pact
with studios has been reached by May 1, the writers will stop writing and
picketing will start on Tuesday.
When writers walked out a decade ago, the stoppage cost the economy of
Los Angeles an estimated $2.5 billion. Production halted, income dried up for
writers, set decorators, caterers, limo drivers and florists, and TV stations
ran loads of reruns.
LA Lost Aprox. $2.5 Billion During The Last Strike
The Writers Guild walked out for 100 days in 2007-8 and 155 days in
1988. In both cases, the most in-demand writers eventually got tired of losing
income and applied pressure to wrap it up.
Longtime Hollywood power players — agents, studio executives, labor
lawyers — put the chance of a strike at roughly 51 percent, according to The
New York Times.
The demands from the writers boils down to raises and bigger payments
from studios for the guild’s generous health plan.
City News Service.
Photo by: Micha