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Art & Culture

WGA Strike Vote: Writers Guild Demands Better Working Conditions

  • Craig Miller
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  • June 12, 2023
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  • 3 minute read
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WGA Strike Vote: Writers Guild Demands Better Working Conditions
Key Takeaways
  • The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced a strike authorization vote as negotiations with studios (AMPTP) continue, with the current contract expiring on May 1.
  • The WGA's Pattern of Demands includes higher writer minimums, restoring residuals, regulating "mini rooms," and addressing AI-produced material.
  • An anonymous WGA member stressed the importance of equal rights for content produced for streaming services and television, and advocated for pay increases proportional to the industry's growth.
  • The member highlighted challenges with "mini rooms" and declining residuals from streaming content, and emphasized the need for regulating AI software in the industry.
  • The WGA urges members to vote in favor of strike authorization, and plans to host member meetings to provide updates on the negotiation process.

 

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) recently announced a strike authorization vote, calling on members to decide if the guild should have the authority to call for a strike against studios (AMPTP) as negotiations continue.

The current WGA contract expires on May 1, and the possibility of a work stoppage looms. Many writers feel that taking action is necessary to address their concerns.

Key Issues Raised by WGA

The WGA’s Pattern of Demands includes higher writers’ minimums, restoring residuals, regulating “mini rooms,” and addressing AI-produced material.

An anonymous WGA member spoke with IndieWire about these crucial topics and the challenges faced by writers in the industry.

The Last Writer’s Strike and Its Impact

Having been a part of the guild since 2000, the anonymous WGA member recalled the last writer’s strike in 2007 and the consequences of not standing up earlier to protect residuals for DVD sales.

The member emphasized the urgency of fighting for writers’ rights in the evolving landscape of content consumption.

Equal Rights for Streaming and Television Content

The WGA member highlighted the importance of securing equal rights and privileges for content produced for streaming services and television.

Addressing residuals in the early days of streaming is crucial, as it represents a significant opportunity for content consumption.

Preparing the Next Generation and Protecting Pay

The anonymous member expressed the need to train future content creators and ensure that middle- and lower-level writers gain exposure to various aspects of writing and production.

They also advocated for pay increases proportional to the industry’s growth.

Sentiment Among Writers

The WGA member observed that the current mood among writers is similar to the urgency and unity experienced during the last strike.

Many colleagues struggle to find consistent work due to new work models and shorter episodes, which can cause weekly pay to fall below WGA minimums.

The WGA member emphasized the importance of regulating AI software and ensuring that copyrighted content created by paid individuals is not fed into AI programs without compensation.

Challenges with Mini Rooms and Residuals

The anonymous member expressed dissatisfaction with “mini rooms,” where they perform the same tasks as in a full writers’ room but receive a fraction of their usual pay.

They also discussed the decline in residuals from streaming content compared to broadcast reruns.

Regulating AI Software in the Industry

The WGA member emphasized the importance of regulating AI software and ensuring that copyrighted content created by paid individuals is not fed into AI programs without compensation.

They also called for payment for material generated using copyrighted content.

Increasing Writers’ Minimums

The anonymous member hopes to see an increase in minimums, particularly for staff writers living in Los Angeles who may need a second job to make ends meet.

They expressed optimism that a work stoppage could be averted if the AMPTP recognizes the unity and just cause of the writers.

Ongoing Negotiations and Future Plans

The WGA has been negotiating with the AMPTP but claims that no significant progress has been made on key economic concerns.

They urge members to vote in favor of strike authorization to strengthen their bargaining position or to call a strike after May 1st if necessary.

In the coming days, the guild will host a series of member meetings to provide updates on the negotiation process and to explain the importance of the strike authorization vote.

Craig Miller

Craig Miller

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