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Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
Entertainment | By Johnnie Parsons

Hollywood writers overwhelmingly authorize strike

Hollywood writers overwhelmingly authorize strike

The last writers' strike, which began in November 2007 and lasted through February 2008, was authorized by 90.3 percent approval, with 5,607 guild members having voted. 6,310 ballots were cast, representing 67.5% of eligible WGA members, in what the email called "a historic turnout".

TV and film writers resumed contract negotiations Tuesday with Hollywood producers with a powerful bargaining tool.

The last WGA strike in 2007-08 lasted 100 days, disrupting TV and movie production throughout the entertainment industry. According to AMPTP, that strike cost writers $287 million in lost compensation that was never recovered.

While there are more shows, and more quality shows, available to viewers than ever before ― in 2016, we could flip between more than 450 original scripted series, if you ask FX ― studios are ordering fewer episodes.

The severity of a strike's impacts all depends on how long it would last.

"I don't think anybody wants a strike to happen", Gina Prince-Bythewood, a WGA member and co-creator of Fox Network's 10-episode event series "Shots Fired", said in a recent interview. Production halted, income dried up for writers, set decorators, caterers, limousine drivers and florists, and TV networks ran loads of reruns. The two sides are at odds over what concessions the guild would make in return for producers contributing more to the health plan.

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There are two primary reasons for the impending strike, according to the WGA. The AMPTP now has a contract with the WGA, but it expires on May 1.

The writers of Hollywood are heavily in favor of authorizing a strike.

The organization threatening the strike, The Writer's Guild of America, is a labor union representing all types of media writers, from television to radio to film. "If you look at the budgets of television shows, the part allotted for writing is generally 2 per cent". (Most shows hold writers exclusive and under option for the next season.) Normally, they could at least pick up some more cash on reruns, but those residuals aren't what they used to be. They're also looking to improve health care and pension coverage for WGA members. Discovery is now in production, but all of the season one episodes are not finalized.

The last writers' strike started in November 2007 and lasted for nearly four months, affecting a huge swathe of U.S. programming.

The strike will start on May 2 and will cause an immediate blackout of the late-night television.

Talks between the WGA and the AMPTP took place last month but ended on March 23 after no agreement was reached, prompting this latest vote.

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