Yesterday, a decisive majority of film and television writers belonging to the Writers Guild of America approved a writers’ strike if a new contract agreement is not reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers by the end of this week. In a stunning vote, 96.3 percent of voting WGA members approved giving their leadership the authority to call for a strike, which, if enacted, would begin after the current contract expires on May 1st, Deadline reports.
The vote took place after three weeks of unsatisfactory negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP, which began in mid-March. The WGA is pushing for wage increases and a fully funded health-care plan. Prior to the strike authorization, major film and TV studios seemed unlikely to acquiesce to these demands without the imminent threat of a labor stoppage, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On April 5th, the WGA sent letters to media buyers, who pre-purchase cable and network advertising time, warning that a strike “could have a significant impact on prime-time programming for the 2017–2018 television season.” Indeed, the 2007–08 writers’ strike, which lasted 100 days, cost California’s economy more than $2 billion. Talks between the WGA and the AMPTP resume today.