The Writers Guild of America has set April 19 as the start date for its strike authorization vote.
Online voting among eligible members will begin after membership meetings are held that week in Los Angeles and New York. Voting will be open through noon PT on April 24.
The guild’s current master film and TV contract with the major studios expires May 1. Negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers are set to resume April 10. The sides met for two weeks last month but ended with the WGA rejecting the offer from the AMPTP as insufficient to address the shrinking paychecks for writers and the financial strains on its health and pension plans.
“We will be returning to the bargaining table with the AMPTP for the week starting Monday, April 10th,” the WGA West and East wrote in a message to members Monday evening. “We continue to need your support to achieve a fair contract before the May 1st expiration date.”
The WGA West will hold 7 p.m. member meetings to discuss the state of contract negotiations and employment concerns for writers on April 18 at the Sheraton Universal and April 19 at the Beverly Hilton.
In New York, the WGA East will convene at 7 p.m. April 19 at the 18th Street offices of the 32BJ SEIU union. Online voting for both guilds will begin that night at 8:30 p.m. PT.
Although the WGA West and East have a combined membership of about 12,000, only those scribes who have worked under the AMPTP contract during the past six years are eligible to vote. That number is believed to be around 5,500 to 6,000 members. WGA members covered under news and digital contracts are not eligible to vote for the strike authorization against the AMPTP.
The latest round of bargaining marks the toughest WGA-AMPTP negotiations in a decade, since the guild went on strike for 100 days between November 2007-February 2008.