After three months of back-and-forth negotiations, the Writers Guild of America Negotiating Committee recommended calling a strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The decision, reached at a membership meeting in Los Angeles Thursday night did not include a beginning date, but WGA panels meeting today are expected to settle on Monday as the first official strike day. If a decision is not reached before weekend’s end, it will only be a short while before the entertainment industry and television in particular is affected.
The WGA, whose last contract expired Thursday evening, October 31, cited the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producer’s unresponsiveness during the three-month-long negotiations as its reason for striking. The two groups have been unable to reach a consensus over the formula used for writer residuals from DVD and other home media sales.
The WGA, representing 12,000 film and TV writers, held its last strike in 1988, costing the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million. The cost of a strike in today’s market is predicted to be substantially higher in not only monetary value, but industry power as well. The Screen Actors Guild, a strong supporter of the WGA in its current negotiations, will be renewing its contract with the AMPTP in June of 2008. As a result, this weekend could mean a turning point within the entertainment industry at large.