It was announced by the East and West Writers Guild of America; for a strike to begin on Tuesday May 2. Here is why the strike is happening and how this could affect content.
This strike happened after six weeks of negotions have broken down for better wages, residual pay and data transparency regarding the rise of artificial intellegince.
Thousands of writers have voted 97.85% against offers made by Hollywood studios; Amazon, Apple, Disney, Sony Pictures, Paramount, NBC Universal and Warner Bros. Discovery.
Among some of WGA proposals included to the AMPTP; were for writers to get 6%-5%-5% for all minimums including residual bases and they have currently ended up being offered 4%-3%-2% (one-time increase to most residual bases of 2% or 2.5%).
With the rise of streaming platforms, there are proposals for feature budgets of $12 million+ to recieve full theatrical terms, with a guaranteed 2nd step hire for screenwriters for less than 250% of minimum and 50% upfront weekly pay.
The AMPTP rejected these terms and only wanted full theatrical releases on budgets of $40 million or more, with a 9% increase on inital compensation and no improvement in residuals.
They also rejected having a minimum of 6 writers (including 4 writer-producers) in the Writer’ room and more requests involving post/pre-greenlight rooms, MBA weekly minimums during post production, regulating the use of A.I.
In addition to this, wrirers are asking for each member of a team to get pension and health contributions, as if they were writing as an individual, which has also been rejected, with no counter offer.
It’s stated in the proposal for costs, that WGA ‘would gain writers approximately $429 million per year; AMPTP’s offer is approximately $86 million per year, 48% of which is from the minimums increase.’
You’ll be able to see the full document details on this WGA contract page.
Previously, a WGA strike went ahead in 2007/8; when writers ended up being on the picket line for 100 days, costing Hollywood $2.1 billion, before there was an agreement reached.
The current strike has also halted content including SNL, late night talk shows by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert, among other scripted shows in the works such as Cobra Kai season 6 and Abbott Elememtary.
Cobra Kai creator, Jon Hurwitz writes a tweet in solidarity about the strike.
The Simpsons writer, Al Jean attended the picket line at Peacock, in New York City, where he was asked about the strike and sharing streaming pay:
“We’re supporting the [inaudible] streaming residuals and the amount of work [inaudible] so much, that it’s really hard for the average writer and that’s what the union is designed to help… I’m so sorry that people on the production jobs won’t be able to work much, but I think we are all on the same boat and it’s important for all of us to get a share of streaming, because that’s where the future is.”Al Jean
Actor, Rob Lowe also joined WGA members picketing outside Paramount.
It’s not just affecting Hollywood, Guild writers in the UK have also been instructed to halt projects within WGA jurisdiction.
If further agreements are not met, this would be causing the strike to continue for much longer; scripted shows that are not completed already, could also be pushed to 2024+. There would also be less new shows and more focus on non-scripted to watch this year and this could also affect jobs on the production teams.