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WGA to go on strike, leaving Hollywood businesses in a state of fear

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (CBS, KYMA/KECY) - Monday marked a major blow to one of Southern California's top industries as Hollywood's movie and TV writers are going on strike!

They will be out on the picket line Tuesday after talks between the Writer's Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers (AMPTP) broke down Monday.

The AMPTP, which represents the studios, issuing this statement saying: "Negotiations between the AMPTP and the WGA concluded without an agreement today. The primary sticking points are 'mandatory staffing' and 'duration of employment.'"

The WGA tweeting: "The Board of Directors of the @WGAwest and the Council of the @WGAeast, acting upon the authority granted to them by their memberships, have voted unanimously to call a strike, effective 12:01am, Tuesday, May 2."

First strike in 15 years

This will be the first industry strike in 15 years. The last one, also being a Writer's Strike, lasted 100 days in 2007 and 2008, costing the local economy over two billion dollars.

There was lots of fear in Hollywood Monday of what this strike will mean for the workers and businesses that depend on the entertainment industry.

“[It's] always exciting to see your sticker on a camera or on a light that’s behind the scenes, absolutely," said Shawn Simon of EVS Gear Rentals & Studios.

That hasn’t been happening as much lately for Simon and his crew at EVS in Glendale. He says his business renting out equipment and hosting productions in-house has already been slowing down for months.

“You don’t want get stuck in the event of a strike, shutting down in the middle of a strike indefinitely," Simon added.

When asked how long did he feel the effects of the strike looming, Simon said, "Since the beginning of the year."

Fears coming true

With no deal, and a strike called, his fears of even less business are about to come true.

“What’s frustrating is we just came off of a great rebound from COVID year and momentum was moving forward and then something completely out of our control like this happens," Simon expressed.

In an email to its members, WGA said of the studios that "they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession. No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership."

Compensation is the sticking point. Writers want more, especially from streaming projects.

The union says writers on streaming shows are getting less for the same work, and by doing less of it, streaming shows have fewer episodes and writers work fewer months.

“Nobody disagrees that writers in Hollywood are underpaid right now. There's a tremendous amount of content, but they're not getting the compensation they want for it," said Dominic Patten, Senior Editor at Deadline Hollywood.

Article Topic Follows: California News

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