Thousands of film and television writers will go on strike after negotiations for better working conditions with main studios and streamers failed to find an agreement.
The strike will start on Tuesday, Writers Guild of America (WGA), a writers union, said late on Monday, adding that the decision took place after six weeks of negotiations with Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Disney, among others.
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,” it said in a statement.
“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 strike will start after the contract expires, meaning that late-night shows are expected to grind to a halt immediately, while television series and movies scheduled for release later this year and beyond could face major delays.
It came after the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), representing studios including Disney and Netflix, said negotiations had “concluded without an agreement”.
The strike could have potentially catastrophic effects on the US entertainment industry.
The last time Hollywood writers laid down their pens and keyboards, in 2007, the strike lasted for 100 days, costing the Los Angeles entertainment economy about $2bn.
This time, the two sides are clashing as writers demand higher pay, minimum guarantees of stable employment and a greater share of profits from the boom in streaming, while studios say they must cut costs due to economic pressures.