No Writers Guild Deal Today, AMPTP Claims – The Hollywood Reporter


For the first time in over 15 years, Hollywood’s writers are going out on strike.

The Guild announced that a work stoppage will begin on Tuesday afternoon after negotiations with the labor group representing studios and streamers faltered on Monday night. No details about where members will begin picketing were available as of press time, though in a picketing survey sent out to members of the weekend, the union listed locations including Amazon/Culver Studios, CBS Radford and CBS Television City, Netflix’s Hollywood plant and the Fox, Sony, Paramount, Warner Bros and Universal studio lots in Los Angeles.

“The Board of Directors of the @WGAwest and the Council of the @WGAEast, acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01 AM, Tuesday, May 2,” the WGA West tweeted on Monday night.

Earlier in the night, the AMPTP said in a statement that the negotiations “concluded without an agreement.”

The decision will have an immediate impact on late-night shows, which rely on up-to-the-minute writing from WGA members on the latest news developments. If a strike goes on for a longer period of time, the WGA has warned that it could set back the network TV season, asscribes for fall premieres tend to start work in May or June.

In the week preceding the expiration of their contract, the WGA issued some strict strike rules to members: no writing, revising, pitching or negotiating with companies that are members of the Alliance of Motion PIcture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which is at the bargaining table with writers. The WGA instructed its members to report any peers that may be in violation of these rules to face union discipline and to tell any companies with “spec” scripts in their possession to return to delete them. The WGA is also telling members that they must picket at assigned locations unless they have a “valid medical excuse,” personal issue or emergency.

This development marks the culmination of months of industry speculation that the writers would strike once their current contract ended on May 1. Hampered in their 2020 round of negotiations over a three-year contract due to the then-recent onset of COVID-19, and emboldened by the success of their campaign against agency packaging practices, the thinking went, the writers were sure to mount a credible strike threat in 2023 as they sought major pay boosts in the streaming age. Writers did little to dispel these rumors, with leaders noting that the guild has a reputation for “tak[ing] action when necessary” and with nearly 98 percent of members authorizing a strike about two weeks before the end of their contract. (The WGA has long relied on its reputation as a union willing to walk to gain leverage in its negotiations with producers.)

Negotiations for the agreement began March 20 and were cut off by 8 p.m. PT on Monday. The writers had been advocating for great compensation in the streaming era, through higher wage floors, regulation of mini-rooms and greater residuals. Meanwhile, studios and streamers — who have been feeling pressure to cut costs after Wall Street turned on unprofitable streaming operations in 2022 and amid an uncertain economic climate — were seeking to rein in their spending on labor. 

The writers have been led in their negotiations by WGA West assistant executive director Ellen Stutzman, who stepped up to the plate after the western branch of the union’s executive director David Young went on medical leave on Feb. 28. Carol Lombardini, the AMPTP’s chief negotiator since 2009, have been leading the talks for producers.

Now, it remains to be seen when the two parties will go back to the bargaining table and how long the strike could stretch on for until they reach an agreement. The WGA’s last work stoppage, in 2007-2008, lasted 100 days, while its strike in 1988 lasted 153 days and its 1985 strike took 14 days.

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