The Writers Guild of America on the Verge of Yet Another Strike?
Today there is pretty much a Television in every household and everyone seems to have a show that they are binge watching 13 seasons of on Netflix. But it looks like your favorite show’s season may come to an abrupt ending due to a Writers strike.
The last strike occurred in 2007 and lasted 100 days, costing California’s economy over $2 Billion. On March 28th of 2017 the Writers Guild of America’s East council voted to seek strike approval from its members, one day after the West Council voted on the same thing.
The W.G.A is currently negotiating a new three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers since the old contract ends on May 1st of this year. The writers are requesting an increase in pay and funding for a healthcare plan as their core issues. Negotiations have taken a turn for the worse and there has been speculation on who will/has backed away from the table.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers spokesman told Deadline “The Writer Guild of America broke off negotiations at an early stage in the process in order to secure a strike vote rather than directing its efforts at reaching an agreement at the bargaining table,” and also added that, “keeping the industry working is in everyone’s best interests and we are ready to return to negotiations when they are.”
Members of the W.G.A are “inclined to vote yes,” one screenwriter said, “There was such a bad feeling left from the last strike that there will be huge resistance.”
All six of the strikes that have taken place since the 1960s have occurred during Republican Presidencies. Vanity Fair’s Rebecca Keegan noted that there is currently a bill that has been introduced to Congress entitled the National Right to Work that can greatly impact the labor movement, which could also be behind the tense negotiations between the W.G.A and A.M.P.T.P. Under United States Law, a union must represent the interest of all workers in a workplace that have a union in place, even those that do not want a union. The Right-To-Work Law would give workers the option to opt out of financial obligations to the Union because they would be required to represent them anyway. Laws like this have been proposed in the past but the current political climate of our country has labor unions alarmed.
In 2007, scripted, late night, and award shows were all affected by the Writer’s Strikes. Shows like Grey’s Anatomy, 30 Rock and The Simpsons had to shorten their seasons and late-night shows like The Late Show had to make their own arrangements with the W.A.G to keep the show going. The 65th Golden Globes was also forced to replace their traditional star studded Ceremony with a press conference. It seemed the only shows that managed to move forward as usual were Reality Television but there have been whispers of them creating their own unions.
Although, viewers would not feel the effects of the strike until the start of Fall TV series premiers, we are all hoping some mutually gratifying agreement can be made.