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WGA Negotiators Seek Strike Authorization From Members

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Picketers outside of NBC studios during the 2007/08 WGA strike. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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The Writers Guild of America negotiators have requested a vote to allow the board of directors to call a strike if current negotiations fail to produce a satisfactory deal, according to Deadline. The request comes at the end of the first two weeks of contract negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The vote does not mean a strike would occur, but it gives the board of directors the power to initiate one if they deem it necessary. The last WGA strike happened over 100 days in 2007.

This round of contract negotiations stems primarily from a lack of transparency around residuals from streaming services and stagnant or declining earnings for writers despite a ballooning profit for the entertainment industry at large. Negotiations have also focused heavily on health plans, with WGA requesting more financial support from AMPTA for health coverage, according to Variety.

In a letter addressed to AMPTA, the WGA negotiators outlined their requests for higher pay, better family leave, and reasonable financial responses to the current trend of short television seasons. They then described the lack of a reasonable deal around these concerns, saying the production companies' response was "no, in virtually every case." They cited small gains in the payment for comedy variety writers, but otherwise no response to their other financial requests. This led them to call for the vote to authorize a strike, while also adding that they "are committed to continue negotiating with the companies in good faith to get you the deal we all deserve."

AMPTA told Deadline "The WGA broke off negotiations at an early stage in the process in order to secure a strike vote rather than directing its efforts at reaching an agreement at the bargaining table."

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The timeline for the vote is still unclear, but the current three-year contract expires on May 1.