If current talks between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) fail, writers have voted to authorize a strike.
96.3% of the six thousand, three hundred and ten writers who cast ballots voted yes for the strike authorization.
“We thank you for your resolve and your faith in us as your representatives,” said the 2017 negotiating committee said in a statement today accompanying the vote results. “We are determined to achieve a fair contract. Talks will resume tomorrow.”
If talks fail, the strike could come as early as May 2.
The WGA complaint is that salaries have decreased by twenty-three percent in the past six years due to shorter show seasons. Payment rates for cable shows and streaming services are well below what networks pay. For instance, a half-hour script for a broadcast network might pay $26,043, but only $14,621 for the same episode on basic cable.
Screenwriters are also feeling the pain, as their wages have decreased since 2007.
WGA members, in addition to a pay raise, want a better healthcare plan. They want AMPTP to “increase its funding to the health plan” as well as improving “pensions and family leave.”
A strike would affect production of Star Trek: Discovery. Some of the writers and Supervising Producer Ted Sullivan encouraged a yes vote. “Give the Board leverage they’re asking for,” said Sullivan via his Twitter account.
If there is a strike, only the completed scripts will be produced and no changes to those scripts will be permitted. Discovery is slated for thirteen episodes for its maiden season, so if a strike dragged on, it might mean a shortened season.
According to Slashfilm, Hollywood insiders “are putting the odds of a strike around fifty-one percent.” At this time, the sticking point appears to be healthcare.