In an historic demonstration of unity, members of the Writers of Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) have overwhelmingly authorized a strike in the event WGA negotiators determine that a fair and reasonable contract cannot be negotiated with the networks and studios. The current contract expires on October 31. Members of the two Guilds cast 5,507 votes with 90.3% voting for authorization. This vote represents the highest turnout in Guild history, surpassing the previous Guild record of 4,128 votes cast in the 2001 MBA contract ratification.

"I am both impressed and gratified by this vote. It shows an overwhelmingly engaged and activated community of writers who care about this negotiation and support our goals. It is now up to the AMPTP companies to begin to bargain seriously concerning the issues important to our members," stated WGAW President Patric M. Verrone. "Writers do not want to strike, but they are resolute and prepared to take strong, united action to defend our interests. What we must have is a contract that gives us the ability to keep up with the financial success of this ever-expanding global industry."

"We're gratified by the massive show of solidarity our members have given our negotiating team by voting in such overwhelming numbers for a strike authorization. Our negotiators can now begin the next round of bargaining strengthened by the knowledge that their hard work and commitment to a fair, meaningful contract – no matter what it takes – are so fully recognized and supported by television and screen writers across the country," said WGAE President Michael Winship. "This historic vote sends an unequivocal message to the AMPTP, loud and clear. We will not be taken advantage of and we will not be fooled."

"Writers have spoken in resounding numbers to give our negotiating committee the power we need to negotiate a fair deal that will protect our profession long into the future. A vote like this paints an extremely accurate portrait of where we stand as a Guild: united, confident, and strong," said John F. Bowman, chair of the WGA Negotiating Committee.

The official strike authorization ballot was mailed to members on October 1 and asked the following question: "Should the WGAW Board of Directors and the WGAE Council be authorized to declare a strike, if and when they deem it advisable to do so, in connection with negotiations for the 2007 WGA Theatrical and Television Basic Agreement?" Writers have answered that question.

The vote gives the governing bodies of the two guilds authorization to call a strike after the current contract expires on October 31. Negotiations began on July 16, but little progress has been made on the primary issues, including compensation and residuals for new media, contract enforcement, Guild jurisdiction, and a proposed increase in the DVD formula. Talks are scheduled to resume on Monday, October 22, at the WGAW headquarters in Los Angeles.


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