We may be in for subpar TV, with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voting to strike over pay and AI concerns.
The WGA’s last strike was in 2007-2008. TV shows brought on replacement writers or turned over writing duties to other personnel, and it was painfully apparent, to put it mildly. Storylines became muddled, and the overall quality dropped.
According to a WGA news release, the guild has voted to strike again.
The decision was made following six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony under the umbrella of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The WGA Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, but the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing.
The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing. From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a “day rate” in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession. No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership.
As The Verge points out, the last strike of 100 days helped push California into a recession and cost the state $2.1 billion.
Hopefully, this strike will be resolved much faster.