Screenwriters to go on strike against Hollywood studios

The WGA has authorised the strike

By Gabriella Geisinger 18 Apr 2023

Screenwriters to go on strike against Hollywood studios
WGA strike 2007; Cr: John Edwards

The unions representing thousands of television and movie writers said on Monday that they had overwhelming support for a strike, giving union leaders the right to call for a walkout when the writers’ contract with the major Hollywood studios expires on May 1.

WGA members voted by a historic margin — 98% to 2% — (among 9,218 ballots cast) in favor of a strike authorization, which allows union leaders to call a walkout if they are unable to negotiate a new film and TV contract.

In a statement, the WGA said: “You have expressed your collective strength, solidarity, and the demand for meaningful change in overwhelming numbers.

"Armed with this demonstration of unity and resolve, we will continue to work at the negotiating table to achieve a fair contract for all writers.”

The current three-year contract, which covers about 11,500 members, expires May 1.

The vote was held April 11 - 17 and adds more pressure to the high-stakes negotiations between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America over pay and conditions.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers said in a statement that the strike being authorised “should come as no surprise to anyone.”

“A strike authorisation vote has always been part of the WGA’s plan, announced before the parties even exchanged proposals,” the statement said. “Our goal is, and continues to be, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement.” It added.

“An agreement is only possible if the guild is committed to turning its focus to serious bargaining by engaging in full discussions of the issues with the companies and searching for reasonable compromises.”

 In an email last week to writers, the lead WGA's negotiators said that “the survival of writing as a profession is at stake in this negotiation.”

With two weeks to go before the contract expires, there has been little sign of progress in the talks. In the email, the negotiating committee said the studios “have failed to offer meaningful responses on the core economic issues” and offered only small concessions in a few areas.

“In short, the studios have shown no sign that they intend to address the problems our members are determined to fix in this negotiation,” the email said.



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