With talks failing, first writers strike in 20 years is set to begin
Last-ditch efforts to negotiate a deal between film and TV scribes and major studios failed Sunday, paving the way for the writers to strike for first time in nearly two decades beginning today.
Despite the efforts of a federal mediator and a late minute back channel talks between top writers and studio executives, the sides were ultimately too far part to bridge the massive divide between them.
After three months of contentious negotiations, talks broke down Wednesday night when writers’ three-year contract expired. Although they made minimal headway on some issues, the parties could not come to terms on the two biggest ones: how much writers receive from DVD sales and from shows distributed online and other new media platforms.
The question now is no longer whether or when they will strike, but how long a walkout will last and how much pain it will inflict.
Both sides are girding for what many believe will be a long and debilitating strike, potentially more disruptive than the 22-week walkout by writers in 1988, which cost the entertainment industry an estimated $500 million.
“Once it starts, it’s going to get ugly,” said one of the guild’s strike captains Sunday.