Variety reports that on Thursday night the Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) negotiating committee announced its unanimous strike recommendation. The decision also is sure to cause ripple effects within the Directors Guild and the Screen Actors Guild as they negotiate their contracts within coming months.
A final decision on striking could come as early as today via meetings of the WGA West board and the WGA East Council. Leaders stressed throughout Thursday’s meeting that they could not specify how soon a strike will start. Attendees were instructed that they should go to work today and wait for a call or email from strike captains.
But, the trade adds, it’s a foregone conclusion that the WGA panels will OK a strike and the consensus is that they’ll probably select Monday as the starting day.
There’s still a chance of re-launching the negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers over the weekend. But that scenario’s doubtful, given the vitriolic rhetoric that’s dominated in recent days.
AMPTP president Nick Counter, who has blasted the WGA as being strike-happy and unprofessional, issued a statement saying it was expecting the strike recommendation.
“By the WGA leadership’s actions at the bargaining table, we are not surprised by tonight’s recommendation,” Counter said. “We are ready to meet and are prepared to close this contract this weekend.
Hopes for a settlement cratered Wednesday night — a few hours before the WGA contract expired — amid bitter recriminations from both sides. The meltdown occurred when companies insisted that the WGA drop its demand to increase DVD residuals, including Internet downloads.
Writers currently receive less than a nickel for each disc sold but studios and networks contend that DVD revenues are critical for film and TV projects to break even amid sharply rising costs.