The Writers Guild of America May Strike
After two months of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has called for a strike authorization vote. Their current contract, last negotiated three years ago, expires on May 1. This still leaves some time for the AMPTP and the WGA to come to an agreement, but WGA leadership have asked their 12,000 members for strike authorization.
This does not necessarily mean they will strike. A strike authorization vote is frequently used for leverage in labor negotiations, as it makes the threat of a strike concrete. It’s possible the WGA intends to use the vote this way. After all, as Variety pointed out, the mood this year is very different from that surrounding the guild’s previous strike: “In 2007, members hit the streets after more than a year of preparation and organization for a work stoppage. This time around, there have been few public signs of a similar level of preparation.”
However, there are real points of contention in the negotiations. The guild’s health plan, which has struggled with funding, is an especially sharp issue for both the WGA and the AMPTP–and given the uncertainty around the U.S. healthcare system in general, neither side is likely to bend very far.
In the letter to members, the WGA laid out their major demands. These included salary increases for screenwriters and Comedy Variety writers, a “rational policy of family leave,” and changes to how the industry handles script fees, options and exclusivity, short seasons, and residuals for streaming media.
You can read the full letter here.
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