Hollywood not ready for another writers strike

Members of the Writers Guild of America authorized a writers strike should contract talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers fail. The strike could start as early as May 2. The WGA said 96.3% authorized the strike, drawing a response from the producers group who said that it is committed to reaching a deal that keeps the industry working.

The last writers strike was in 2007 and lasted for 100 days. The Writers Guild is largely focused on how streaming platforms have affected compensation. A strike can be prevented if the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers can reach a deal this week. Talks are scheduled to resume Thursday. The strike deadline could be extended if both sides think they are close to reaching a deal.

If a strike were to begin, the most immediate effect would be felt by late-night shows including SNL, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The late-night shows write out each episode on a day by day basis. Scripted shows would be forced to end their seasons early and the summer TV season would receive a big dent from the strike.

Some of the key issues surrounding the potential strike is the WGA’s health plan, which is faced with a deficit, protecting the WGA’s current pension plan and approval of family leave. Compensation is the other central issue at play.

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The producers’ alliance released a statement saying, “The companies are committed to reaching a deal at the bargaining table that keeps the industry working. The 2007 writers’ strike hurt everyone. Writers lost more than $287 million in compensation that was never recovered.” This strike not only impacts the writers but also tens of thousands of workers including drivers, caterers, dry cleaners, set carpenters and others who make Hollywood’s wheels turn. The last strike caused a $2.5 billion economic loss for Los Angeles.