The WGA overwhelmingly approved the strike authorization vote

This time, a record number of writers cast ballots and voted in favor of a work stoppage.

Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike as the guild continues negotiations with studios. The guild had more participation and was even more united today than the last time the guild shut down in 2007-2008.

The WGA announced that 97.85 percent of members voting on strike authorization voted yes in favor of going on strike. That’s 9,020 members, compared to just 198 who voted no. And the 9,218 WGA members who voted represent 78.79 percent of the total union membership, setting a new record for both participation and total unity for a strike authorization.

Compare that to the last time the union voted to authorize a strike in 2017: during the hearing, only 96.3 percent of members voted yes, and only 67.5 percent of members cast ballots. This was a record at the time. And this year’s vote dwarfs the number of people who approved the strike in 2007, when only 90 percent of voters approved the strike that eventually lasted 100 days and cost the industry more than $2 billion.

“Our membership has spoken. You have expressed your collective strength, solidarity and demand for meaningful change in overwhelming numbers. Armed with this demonstration of unity and determination, we will continue to work at the negotiating table to secure a fair contract for all writers,” the guild said in a statement to members.

The agreement between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expires on May 1st, and with plenty of writers involved who are willing to go on strike if a fair deal isn’t reached, it’s a win for the guild and lenders. some more ammunition for the negotiators in negotiations with the studios about the guild’s intentions. This does not mean that a strike is guaranteed to happen, and in 2017 a strike was avoided at the last minute. But studios and writers have been preparing for the worst for some time now, with studios in particular stockpiling scripts or competing to greenlight content and begin production before writing stops.

The AMPTP issued a press conference earlier on Monday, ahead of the results of the strike authorization vote, saying that such a vote was “inevitable” but that they certainly did not expect such a large turnout.

“A strike authorization vote was always part of the WGA’s plan, which was announced before the parties exchanged proposals. Its inevitable ratification should not come as a surprise to anyone,” the AMPTP statement said. “Our aim is, and still is, to reach a fair and reasonable agreement. Agreement is only possible if the Guild is committed to focusing on a serious bargain by having full discussions with companies on the issues and seeking reasonable compromises.”

Before the vote, the guild released a pattern of demands, discussions with studios that discussed higher minimums, more consistent residual payments, rules and regulations on the practice of so-called “minirooms,” among other things. on the use of materials generated by artificial intelligence. At that time, 98.4 percent of the members voted for these demands.

As for the rest of town, the Directors Guild of America, meanwhile, begins negotiations with studios on May 10 and their master contract expires on June 30, while SAG-AFTRA begins negotiations on June 7, their master contract also expires on June 30.

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