The Union of Writers Guild of America (WGA) representing thousands of film and television writers went on strike on Tuesday. This is the first Hollywood writers’ strike after 2007. The writers are out on pickets on Tuesday afternoon.
Here is what you need to know about the Hollywood writers’ strike:
The East and West divisions of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) represent 11,500 film and television writers of Hollywood who negotiate a new deal with major Hollywood studios every third year. It had long been expected that the negotiations would be tense this time.
Hollywood TV production has exploded over the past decade as media companies pour billions into streaming services.
But the writers said their pay is stagnant. WGA executives said the current system was broken, arguing that “the survival of writing as a profession is at stake in this negotiation..”
Where do these two sides stand?
From what Hollywood writers and studios had to say late Monday before the strike, there is a huge gap between ‘what the writers want’ and ‘what the studios are willing to offer’.
The Hollywood companies said their offer included “generous increases in compensation for writers.” The unions accused the studios of “betray  ing a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing..”
How does writer’s strike affect viewers?
Shows like, ‘Saturday Night Live’ and series like, ‘The Tonight Show’ starring Jimmy Fallon, ‘The Late Show With Stephen Colbert’, and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ are at risk of shutting down.
Seth Meyers, NBC at 12:30 p.m host, referred to the end of the airwaves in a web segment late last week, saying: “If you don’t see me here next week, know that it is something that is not done lightly and that I will be heartbroken to miss you as well.”
During the 2007 writers’ strike, the night shows were not aired for two months. TV soap operas may have yet to have any new episodes after a month.
If the writers’ strike continues, viewers will be unable to watch some of their favorite shows, although that won’t be seen until later this year. Reality series and international programs will be broadcast in a busy rotation.
Due to the long production time, it will take a much longer time for this strike to affect the films. Most of the films which were planned for this year have already been shot.
Do the writers agree?
Tensions between writers and studios existed for a long time, and writers often felt they were not given enough importance, especially when compared to actors and directors in Hollywood.
In mid-April, more than 9,000 writers approved the strike with 98% of the vote.
Writers have left multiple times in the past. The 2007 strike lasted 100 days. The longest writers’ strike in 1988 lasted 153 days.
What are the claims of the writers?
The writers said that there were several issues in these negotiations. But for them, compensation is the most important thing.
Writers argued that the streaming world had worsened their working conditions. Many streaming shows have 8-12 episodes per season, compared to the 20+ episodes made for traditional television.
Writers are rooting for better residual royalties, a form of royalties for reruns and other performances. They believe it represents an important revenue source for a streaming-disordered and middle-class writer.
They also face the “abuse” of so-called mini-rooms. There is no single definition of a mini space. For example, the mini-room consists of a small group of writers who were hired by the studios before the show was officially aired. But since it’s not a formal writer’s room, studios use it as an excuse to pay less to writers.
What do the studies say?
Studios say now is not the time to change the way writers are paid drastically.
The advertising market is bleak, including cable and broadcast networks. They have been very profitable for decades. Wall Street hit media companies hard after Netflix lost subscribers for the first time last year. This forced studio management to find a way to turn its loss-making streaming services into profitable entities.
Disney is laying off 7,000 employees. Warner Bros., Discovery shed thousands of jobs and canceled shows over the past year as it faced huge debt. Many other studios are taking similar measures.
What about collateral damage?
Prolonged production blockage can harm production support workers such as drivers, dry cleaners, caterers, carpenters, and shipyard workers.
The 2007 strike lasted 100 days and cost the Los Angeles economy an estimated $2.1 billion.