Letter to WGA members below.
Interesting summary of the issues from Deadline here.
SAG-AFTRA’s statement of support here.
We have not reached an agreement with the studios and streamers. We will be on strike after the contract expires at midnight.
Your WGA Negotiating Committee spent the last six weeks negotiating 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).
Over the course of the negotiation, we explained how the companies’ business practices have slashed our compensation and residuals and undermined our working conditions. Our chief negotiator, as well as writers on the committee, made clear to the studios’ labor representatives that we are determined to achieve a new contract with fair pay that reflects the value of our contribution to company success and includes protections to ensure that writing survives as a sustainable profession. We advocated on behalf of members across all sectors: features, episodic television, and comedy-variety and other non-prime-time programs, by giving them facts, concrete examples, and reasonable solutions. Guild members demonstrated collective resolve and support of the agenda with a 97.85% strike authorization.
Though we negotiated intent on making a fair deal—and though your strike vote gave us the leverage to make some gains—the studios’ responses to our proposals 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.
Therefore, earlier today the Negotiating Committee unanimously rejected the AMPTP’s final offer before deadline and recommended to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council the issuance of a strike order. Based on that recommendation, the Board and Council unanimously voted to strike after the current MBA’s expiration at midnight tonight.
A strike by the WGAW and WGAE against all companies signatory to the 2020 MBA will begin on Tuesday, May 2, 2023 at 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET.
We must now exert the maximum leverage possible to get a fair contract by withholding our labor. All WGA members are obligated to follow the strike rules. The FAQ about the strike rules includes forms to assist with notice requirements as well as contact information for Guild staff to provide additional guidance.
Members of the Negotiating Committee, Board and Council will be out with you on the picket lines. The initial picketing schedule can be found here and will be updated regularly.
Writers Guild members can hear a full report from the Negotiating Committee in Los Angeles at the Shrine Auditorium at 7:00 pm PT on Wednesday May 3 (RSVP here) and in New York at Cooper Union at 7:00 pm ET (RSVP here). Members outside of Los Angeles and New York or who are otherwise unable to attend a meeting will receive information in the coming days to hear from leadership and receive information about additional ways to support the strike.
Here is what all writers know: the companies have broken this business. They have taken so much from the very people, the writers, who have made them wealthy. But what they cannot take from us is each other, our solidarity, our mutual commitment to save ourselves and this profession that we love. We had hoped to do this through reasonable conversation. Now we will do it through struggle. For the sake of our present and our future, we have been given no other choice.
WGA NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE
David A. Goodman, Co-Chair
Chris Keyser, Co-Chair
Ellen Stutzman, Chief Negotiator