The Writer’s Guild of America began a nationwide strike today. The decision comes after several weeks of discussion with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, in which studios and producers refused to negotiate some of the WGA’s proposals for improving writers’ work conditions.
Last March, the WGA sat down with the AMPTP for several weeks to renegotiate the contract between the two syndicates. Since the previous WGA-AMPTP contract expired on May 1, the writers’ alliance decided to open discussions that could lead to better pay and, especially, improved working conditions for a class of workers that helps turn the Hollywood wheels. The WGA also asked for protection against big studios’ use of AI tools to replace writers and minimal insurance that would prevent writers from getting suddenly fired due to executive decisions that have little to do with their work.
While these demands sound reasonable, the AMPTP refused to acknowledge the WGA’s needs and didn’t even offer a counterproposal for many of the points discussed between the two syndicates until last week. For instance, it doesn’t seem like Hollywood producers are willing to implement workflow changes that’ll prevent screenwriters from working for free, which still happens. And regarding touchy subjects such as AI, the AMPTP only offered annual meetings without any kind of insurance. The AMPTP is unwilling to discuss the core proposals set by the WGA, which is why the syndicate feels like there’s no other solution but a strike.
The WGA Strike Will Freeze Hollywood
The last time the WGA got so close to a general strike was in 2017, but the union managed to avoid it with a last-minute deal. Unfortunately, the AMPTP failed to offer a similar solution this time, threatening to freeze the Hollywood machine. The WGA represents approximately 20 thousand writers in Hollywood, penning scripts for movies, series, and even live shows. For as long as the strike is held, these writers won’t be working, which means studios and producers will be forced to pause their projects. So, depending on how long the strike last, the members of the AMPTP might lose millions of dollars.
For the public in general, the writers’ strike means upcoming movie and TV releases might be delayed or utterly canceled. As Deadline reports, several late-night shows will also be immediately shut down. That means there’ll be less content available as time goes by, and the longer the AMPTP takes to negotiate the WGA’s terms, the more Hollywood will need time to heal and set every production in motion once again. Considering how the 2020 pandemic already disrupted the entertainment industry, it would be wise for studios to try to solve the matter as quickly as possible.
Stay tuned for updates as strikers take to the picket lines this week. Check out the WGA‘s informative video about the strike authorization, and their collection of “My Union, My Story” videos.