Latest On WGA Strike: Netflix's 'Stranger Things' Stops Production
It's Day 7 of the Writers Guild of America strike. And its toll is expanding rapidly.
- Marvel shut down a new Blade movie a few weeks before filming was set to commence, because the script wasn’t ready.
- Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer, the co-creators of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things, said they have stopped work on the show’s fourth and final season. “We hope a fair deal is reached soon so we can all get back to work,” they said in a Twitter post. “Until then — over and out.”
- In New York, production either has been disrupted or canceled on the shows Daredevil: Born Again, Billions, Evil and Severance.
What Else You Should Know:
There's been no news about resumption of talks between the WGA and film and TV studios and streamers, represented at the bargaining table by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
The AMPTP is set to open contract talks with the Directors Guild of America on Wednesday. The Screen Actors Guild will open its contract talks on June 7. Both the DGA and SAG contracts expire on June 30.
Latest from AMPTP
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers most recent statement covered these issues:
- "Gig economy" for writers: It says screenwriting has almost nothing in common with standard “gig" jobs. Writers often have a guarantee of specific weeks or episodes, and writing jobs come with benefits such as employer-paid health care and pension plan contributions.
- Mandatory staffing and duration of employment: The AMPTP sees this essentially as a hiring quota that's "incompatible with the creative nature of our industry," and says it's a one-size-fits-all solution to shows that are each unique.
- Overall numbers: The AMTP disputes the WGA's claim that it's only offering $41 million a year in minimum wage increases. It says it's nearer $97 million per year, which doesn't take into account other wage and residual increases it's offered.
- Wage increases: It's offering the highest first-year general wage increase in more than 25 years, while also offering to create "an entirely new category of rates that will establish a new and higher floor for mid-level writers’ compensation."
- Streaming residuals: A 46% increase in residuals took effect in 2020, and many writers have yet to see these in their paychecks. For a one-hour episode of a Netflix or Amazon Prime series, a writer receives $72,000 in residuals over three years, growing to $114,000 over seven years.
- Artificial intelligence: "AI raises hard, important creative and legal questions for everyone. For example, writers want to be able to use this technology as part of their creative process, without changing how credits are determined, which is complicated given AI material can't be copyrighted. So it's something that requires a lot more discussion, which we've committed to doing."
What the WGA has said
In a statement released at the beginning of the strike, the WGA said:
"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."
Why it matters
It is the first WGA strike in 15 years; the last work stoppage began in November 2007 and lasted 100 days.
The WGA says that most of its nearly 12,000 members are making less than they once did, and that after factoring for inflation, average WGA pay has actually dropped 14% over the last five years.
The union says about half of WGA members are earning scale — the bare minimum wages stipulated by the contract with the AMPTP. Ten years ago, it was only a third.
Executives at studios and streamers maintain that they are still recovering from pandemic losses and have spent billions of dollars creating and buying content for new streaming platforms, some of which are far from profitable.
Other Hollywood unions will likely use any WGA gains as the template for their demands; contracts for the Screen Actors Guild and the Directors Guild of America both expire at the end of June.
How we're reporting on this
John Horn, who covers arts and entertainment, has been following negotiations closely. Josie Huang talked last week to picketers and local businesses affected by the strike. In addition, our AirTalk team has featured the strike in on-air discussions on LAist 89.3 and LAist coverage. Our podcasts HTLA and Retake have also talked to writers and others affected by the strike.
This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think officials involved in negotiations and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.
What questions we're asking
- What are the main sticking points in the negotiations?
- How do the contracts of other Hollywood unions — some of which have no-strike clauses — affect this strike?
- What's next for your favorite shows.
- TV And Movie Writers Strike Over 'Gig Economy' Conditions. What’s At Stake In The WGA Walkout
- A History Of Strikes: How The WGA Has Played Catch-Up As Emerging Technologies Made Others Richer
- From Gas Stations to Restaurants: How The WGA Strike Will Hit The LA Economy
- This Hollywood Writers Strike Could Have Massive Economic Impact. An Economist Explains What We Can Learn From 2007
Your Questions Or Ideas
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