‘PENCILS DOWN’ AS MOVIE & TV WRITERS GO ON STRIKE
The big labor news so-far this month is the walkout of 11,500 movie and TV writers, members of the Writers Guild of America after their negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers broke down. The strike was immediately felt in New York and Hollywood with late night TV shows cancelled or showing re-runs.
The big issue is the rapid growth of online platforms like Netflix. The union points to the fact that minimum pay, affecting a large number of guild members, and residuals (the money they get for re-runs) have not kept up with the rapid technological change, They are demanding higher minimum pay and streaming residuals.
On the first day of the strike, hundreds of picketing writers lined the streets in New York outside offices of NBC Universal and major studios in Hollywood. They carried signs saying, “Pencils Down! No Contract, No Scripts” The last writers strike in 2007 lasted nearly three months.
NY Times, 4/30; 5/1 Los Angeles Times, 5/2