Deep breath everybody.
I’ll have much more to say on this tomorrow morning and in the days to come. Subscribe also to Strikegeist, The Ankler’s free newsletter entirely devoted to all things labor unrest to keep up with our reporting and analysis on the big standoff.
Here’s tonight’s statement from the WGA:
LOS ANGELES AND NEW YORK – Following the unanimous recommendation of the WGA Negotiating Committee, the Council of the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), and the Board of Directors of the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01a.m. Pacific Time, Tuesday, May 2.
The decision was made following six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony under the umbrella of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The WGA Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, but the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing.
The companies' behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing. From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a "day rate" in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession. No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership.
Picketing will begin tomorrow afternoon.
Minutes before the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers released this statement:
Negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA concluded without an agreement today. The AMPTP presented a comprehensive package proposal to the Guild last night which included generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals. The AMPTP also indicated to the WGA that it is prepared to improve that offer, but was unwilling to do so because of the magnitude of other proposals still on the table that the Guild continues to insist upon. The primary sticking points are “mandatory staffing,” and “duration of employment” — Guild proposals that would require a company to staff a show with a certain number of writers for a specified period of time, whether needed or not.
The AMPTP member companies remain united in their desire to reach a deal that is mutually beneficial to writers and the health and longevity of the industry, and to avoid hardship to the thousands of employees who depend upon the industry for their livelihoods.
The AMPTP is willing to engage in discussions with the WGA in an effort to break this logjam.
Drop me a line at email@example.com and let me know your thoughts, feelings and news as I write overnight.
The strike doesn’t affect just writers—the WGA-E has contracts with several production outfits that include these jobs: AP/Research, Associate Producer, AP Specialist, Archival Producer, Art Director, Junior Archival, Post AP, Post Coordinator, Post Production Assistant, Production Assistant, Producer, Show Runner, Sr. Producer/Writer, Supervising Producer, GFX Designer, GFX Tech, GFX Artist, Motion GFX Editor, Jr. Graphic Freelance Designer, Motion Graphics, Story Producer.
How is a GFX artist the same as a writer?
I'm going to see if AI can generate an agreement...