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Hollywood writers go on strike after studios and union fail to reach a deal

Hollywood writer strike could cost California $250 million daily
Hollywood writer strike could cost California $250 million daily 03:44

Hollywood writers went on strike Tuesday after a deal was not reached with studios. 

Both sides, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America, announced on Monday night that the pair failed to strike a deal before negotiations ended today, prompting a strike to begin at one minute after midnight on Tuesday. 

AMPTP said no further talks were scheduled Tuesday morning.  

The union had been negotiating with Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount, Sony, Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney,  all represented under the umbrella of the AMPTP.

In a statement released on Monday night, the AMPTP said they presented a "comprehensive package proposal to the Guilld last night which included generous increases in compensation for writers as well as improvements in streaming residuals."

"Though our Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, the studios' responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing," WGA tweeted on May 1. 

The AMPTP said  that the major points of disagreement surrounded "mandatory staffing" and "duration of employment." In the month leading to the strike, the WGA said they are pushing for an increase in pay and residuals, especially relating to streaming productions. 

"They have taken so much from the very people, the writers, who have made them wealthy," the WGA said in an email to their members. "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."

Member of Writers Guild of America hold signs on a picket line in Los Angeles
Member of Writers Guild of America hold signs on a picket line in front of Paramount Studios during the fourth day of a strike in Los Angeles November 8, 2007. Lucy Nicholson / REUTERS

The WGA said the studios created a "gig economy" within in the industry. Additionally, the Guild said the companies' "immoveable stance" during the negotiations devalued the "profession of writing."

"Writers are making 23% less than we were 10 years ago, while the companies are making record profits — and that's what we're looking to address," said WGA negotiating team committee member Adam Conover in an interview in April. 

Conover continued and added that writers are put in unfair situations and compared the residuals made between movies that debuted in theaters and streaming platforms.

"If you write a movie for theatrical, where they put it in the movie theaters," said Conover. "If you write the very same movie for streaming, you are paid far, far less in residuals — and residuals are how writers make our year in between our jobs. A movie is a movie either way."

The guild announced the sites where picketing would begin Tuesday.   


The last time writers went on strike was in 2007-2008. It lasted 100 days. While the strike will begin on Tuesday morning, picketing will not start until Tuesday afternoon.

If the like lasts it will create a perfect storm as the studios' contracts with the Directors Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild- American Federation of Television and Radio Artists expires in June. 

During the strike authorization vote in April, nearly 98% of WGA members voted in favor of the strike.

Local and state politicians commented on the strike on Tuesday. 

While she hasn't notably expressed her support for one side or the other, Mayor Karen Bass is hopeful and willing to help if she's approached by either party. 

"I'm hoping that they will reach resolution soon," she said. "I know, as I understand it, they're far apart right now. But, I am interested and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to connect up and least get a handle on what's going on by talking to all parties involved."

Governor Gavin Newsom echoed that sentiment, noting the drastic impact that the strike could have should it become long-term. 

"It has profound consequences, direct and indirect. Every single one of us will be impacted by this and we're very concerned by what's going on," he said. while speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Tuesday. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Many KCAL News producers and writers are WGA members. However, they are on a separate contract. Paramount Global, which owns CBS and KCAL News, is part of the AMPTP.

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