film scriptwriters and television Union members voted overwhelmingly to give their leaders the authority to call a strike if they cannot reach an agreement on a new contract.
In an email sent Monday, the bargaining committee of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) reported that nearly 98% of voters said yes to the authorization of the strike and about 79% of union members participated in the vote. The union is currently negotiating with the Alliance of Film Producers and Television a deal aimed at addressing salary and other changes brought about by the dominance of streaming services.
“Our members have spoken,” the email read. “They have expressed their collective strength, solidarity and the demand for meaningful change in overwhelming numbers.”
The writers’ current three-year contract expires May 1 and leaders could call a strike as soon as the next day, though they could extend the deadline if the two sides are close to a deal.
Issues at stake include salaries, the ability of writers to work for different productions during downtime on other projects and, according to Variety, the use of artificial intelligence in the scriptwriting process.
The Alliance of Film Producers and Televisionwhich negotiates for studios, streaming services and production companies, said in a statement Monday that “an authorization vote of strike it has always been part of the WGA plan, announced before the parties exchanged proposals. Its inevitable ratification should surprise no one.”
“Our goal is, and remains, to reach a fair and reasonable settlement,” the statement said.
The writers voted for an authorization of strike similar in almost the same amount in 2017, but an agreement was reached before the convening of the strike. The union declared itself in strike for the last time in 2007.