WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/13/08) - Yesterday was more than just another day of primary wins for Barack Obama, in what seems to be an upset of Hillary Clinton's plan to take the presidency. The membership of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) voted overwhelmingly in favor of lifting the restraining order and ending their 100-day strike that began on Nov. 5th last year. 3,775 writers turned out in Los Angeles and New York to cast ballots or fax in proxies, with 92.5 percent voting in favor of ending the work stoppage.
“The strike is over. Our membership has voted, and writers can go back to work,” said Patric M. Verrone, president of the Writers Guild of America, West.
“This was not a strike we wanted, but one we had to conduct in order to win jurisdiction and establish appropriate residuals for writing in new media and on the Internet," Verrone said.
"Those advances now give us a foothold in the digital age. Rather than being shut out of the future of content creation and delivery, writers will lead the way as TV migrates to the Internet and platforms for new media are developed,” Verrone said.
“The success of this strike is a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future,” said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.
“The commitment and solidarity of our members made it happen and have been an inspiration not only to us but the entire organized labor movement. We will build on that energy and unity to make our two unions stronger than ever,” Winship explained.
A joint statement, regarding the end of the strike, has been issued by members of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The statement has been attributed to heads of the Fox Group, Paramount Pictures Corporation, the Walt Disney Company, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Brothers, CBS Corporation and NBC Universal.
"This is a day of relief and optimism for everyone in the entertainment industry," the statement reads. "We can now all get back to work, with the assurance that we have concluded two groundbreaking labor agreements – with our directors and our writers -- that establish a partnership through which our business can grow and prosper in the new digital age."
"The strike has been extraordinarily difficult for all of us, but the hardest hit of all have been the many thousands of businesses, workers and families that are economically dependent on our industry," the AMPTP statement continues. "We hope now to focus our collective efforts on what this industry does best – writers, directors, actors, production crews, and entertainment companies working together to deliver great content to our worldwide audiences."
WGAW and WGAE members will next vote to ratify the tentative three-year contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The membership ratification vote will be conducted by mail and also at membership meetings on February 25, 2008.
The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and the Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) represent writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, and new media industries in both entertainment and news.