Days before the ​Writers Guild of America’s May 1 ​contract deadline, ​insiders hoped ​negotiations with the Alliance for Motion Picture and Television Producers​ (AMPTP) ​— which represents large ​media conglomerates and streaming companies ​— were making progress. 

​But in a rather predictable Hollywood twist, ​the bosses decided to play the villain. 

When AMPTP agreed to just six of the WGA’s 21 contract proposals, 11,000 WGA members closed their laptops, grabbed a picket sign, and declared a strike.

The walkout has the support of 98 percent of Guild members. It is the first such exodus since the 2007 strike that had scribes on the picket lines for 100 days.

The writers ​believe they are facing an “existential crisis.”​ 

“The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce,” said the WGA in a statement,“and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing​.”  

​But in a rather predictable Hollywood twist, ​the bosses decided to play the villain. 

​During the 2007 strike, one of the union’s main issues concerned the then-unknown commodity​ of streaming services. Producers effectively dismissed the Guild’s concerns and grabbed rights away, creating the current state of affairs in which writers receive no residuals for their work. Generally, all profit flowing from successful film and TV scripts — millions of dollars — goes directly to the studios and the CEOs of the streaming services.  

“​Everything that the Writers Guild ​was asking for to start negotiations was 2 percent of profit. Not income. Profit,” said Greg Iwinski,​ a ​late-night comedy writer​ who is on the WGA contract negotiating​ committee.​ “Two percent of profit for the people who start with a blank page and then give every other person in the industry what they need for others to do their job​.”

​You can read the summary of WGA proposals, and the counteroffers from AMPTP, here

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