Members of the Writers Guild of America on strike in 2007. The WGA voted on Tuesday to go on strike after negotiations with the Hollywood studios fell through. File Photo courtesy Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
May 2 (UPI) -- Hollywood writers went on strike on Tuesday after negotiations between the writers union and the studios fell through.
The board of directors for the Writers Guild of America voted unanimously to call for a walkout effective just after midnight with picketing set to begin Tuesday afternoon, the union said.
In a statement, WGA said the decision to strike came after it failed to reach an agreement after six weeks of negotiations with studios and streaming services including Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Discovery-Warner, NBC Universal, Paramount and Sony under the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
"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," the union said in a statement.
The strike will bring an end to television production until an agreement is reached, bringing wide-ranging impacts to the entertainment industry.
Some scripted television series may be forced to shorten their seasons, while the production of television shows and films may otherwise be delayed.
Immediately, nightly network talk shows including The Late Show with Steven Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with Seth Meyers will stop running new episodes and instead air re-runs in most cases.
Comedy Central's The Daily Show and HBOs Real Time with Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight are also expected to halt new episodes.
A final decision on whether NBC's Saturday Night Live will continue production is expected later in the week.
Union members are seeking pay increases to offset higher living costs. Median writer-producer pay has declined 4%, or 23% when adjusted for inflation, according to WGA statistics.
"Writers are ready for a deal from the studios that allows writers to share in the success of the content they create and build a stable life," the guild tweeted on April 17.
Ted Lasso and Black Lady Sketch Show writer Ashley Nicole Black said that networks now sell shows to their own streaming services instead of syndication packages, reducing writer royalties.
"Even if it's a huge hit, they get to determine the value and then they send you a check for $1.25," Black wrote.
Full Frontal and Tonight Show writer Mike Drucker said that shorter seasons of 10 or fewer episodes, favored by streaming services, mean that staff writers don't have a full year of work anymore.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the association that represents studios, television networks and streaming platforms, said that it had offered compensation agreements for the writers. However, NBC News reported that one of the biggest disputes was regarding union proposals that would require companies to staff television shows with a certain number of writers for a specific period of time, "whether needed or not."