The 1,200 members of the WGA are currently conducting an authorization vote.
The result will tell them whether they can strike after their current contract ends. The vote itself will end tonight – just one day before the WGA and AMPTP are due back to negotiations. The WGA will have the results of the vote as they sit back down at the table. A vote in favour of a strike doesn’t mean they will strike, just that they can. Their current agreement, negotiated in 2014, expires 01 May. The WGA says it will continue to negotiate even if a strike vote is reached.
Hollywood and viewers alike can recall the 2007 – 2008 strike that stopped TV production for months and left us stuck with reality shows like American Idol and late night talk shows. Back then, the WGA’s main concern was digital revenue shares, but the way we watch television has changed. Streaming and Netflix have invaded our lives and are Kings among many. Now, the WGA is fighting for better health care and pension policies and writers’ pay, among other issues.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, there were 455 scripted shows this season. Despite “Peak TV” (boom of scripted TV production), writers’ incomes have gone downhill. With “Peak TV”, the seasons are shorter, 10 – 13 episodes and not the 22 or 23 we had in the past. Pay per episode hasn’t gone up significantly. The Hollywood Reporter has an analysis of this.
So, writers need to work more but are tied by their contract to their current show. Basically, they are stuck in a dead-end job with few benefits and little outlook for a brighter future.
According to IndiWire, writers’ incomes fell 23% in the last two years. Check out the link to read the letter sent to members by the WGA.
This would be a good opportunity for VOD to swoop into our living rooms and commandeer our televisions. It’s could be open season.
My hope is that we avoid a strike and the writers get a least some of what they need. Enough to live comfortably, at least. And, let’s get the old Hollywood back. Wasn’t there a President to bicker about?