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Writers Guild Of America Asks Members To Vote For Strike Authorization

A large sign says writers guild america outlined in red, with a clock in the middle and Strike outlined in black. A man is holding it with his back turned; there are palm trees above and a clear blue sky
Picketers outside NBC studios during the 2007-08 WGA strike.
(David McNew/Getty Images)
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Negotiators for the Writers Guild of America, frustrated by a lack of progress in the first two weeks of bargaining with film and TV producers over a new contract, asked screenwriters on Monday to approve a strike authorization vote.

Why it matters: The current WGA contract expires on May 1. If there’s no contract by then, a successful strike authorization vote could increase the guild’s bargaining power. In a message to members, WGA negotiators said, “Asking for a SAV is a step that unions take to demonstrate resolve and support for the bargaining agenda, and to prepare for a possible strike, particularly in negotiations where critical issues are at stake.”

The effect of the last strike: The last time the WGA went on strike, in late 2007, it lasted 100 days. A Milken Institute study estimated it led to a net loss of 37,700 jobs directly and indirectly tied to the entertainment industry, resulting in $2.1 billion in losses.

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What happens to my favorite shows? If there were a strike, TV viewers would not see the impact until late in 2023, when new episodes of scripted series would run out. Some live shows would go off the air sooner, but feature films would not be affected until next year because production and release schedules are longer.

What's next: Online voting will start April 11 and end April 17, two weeks before the current contract expires.

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