Writers strike looms large as WGA members vote to authorise strike action

Breaking Bad

Almost 98% of members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have voted to authorise a strike, as discussions with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) continue.

The result means the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council can now call a strike it the union is unhappy with a new deal with the AMPTP. The existing contract ends 1 May.

The vote saw members overwhelmingly call for strike action, with 9,020 in favour out of 9,218 eligible members.

The WGA said: “Our membership has spoken. You have expressed your collective strength, solidarity and the demand for meaningful change in overwhelming numbers. Armed with this demonstration of unity and resolve, we will continue to work at the negotiating table to achieve a fair contract for all writers.”

The move had been widely expected and follows the first month of discussions between the WGA and the AMPTP, as they attempt to thrash out a new contract.

The AMPTP has previously said it intends to keep productions on track during negotiations with the WGA, as subjects ranging from streaming residuals to writers room size are discussed.

The current Minimum Basic Agreement is set to end on 1 May and ahead of the talks, the AMPTP – which leads discussions for the major US studios – said its members were focused on “the long-term health and stability of the industry as our priority.”

The WGA is focusing on raising basic wages, residuals from streaming and the use of smaller writers rooms to cut costs.

A strike in 2017 was narrowly averted but a decade before, writers walked out for 100 days in a move that forced shows such as Breaking Bad to cut episodes to deal with the fall-out.

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