Today's Paper Latest Story ideas Coronavirus The Article iPad Core Values Weather Newsletters Obits Puzzles Archive
ADVERTISEMENT

Writers vote to end strike that crippled Hollywood

by BY LYNN ELBER THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | February 13, 2008 at 1:57 a.m.

LOS ANGELES - The Writers Guild of America said its members voted Tuesday to end their three-month strike that brought the entertainment industry to a standstill.

Writers will be back on the job today after voting in Beverly Hills and New York.

"At the end of the day, everybody won. It was a fair deal and one that the companies can live with, and it recognizes the large contribution that writers have made to the industry," Leslie Moonves, chief executive officerof CBS Corp., told The Associated Press.

Moonves was among the media executives who helped broker a deal after talks between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, collapsed in acrimony in December.

Residuals for TV shows and movies distributed online was the most contentious issue in the dispute involving the 12,000-member union and the world's largest media companies and other producers.

Under a tentative contractapproved Sunday by the union's board of directors, writers would get a maximum flat fee of about $1,200 for streamed programs in the deal's first two years and then get 2 percent of a distributor's gross in year three.

"These advances now give us a foothold in the digital age," said Patric Verrone, president of the West Coast guild. "Rather than being shut out of the future of content creation and delivery, writers will lead the way as television migrates to the Internet."

One winner in the vote was the Academy Awards, which can now be staged Feb. 24 withoutthe threat of pickets or a boycott by actors.

The strike's end will allow many hit series to return this spring for what's left of the current season, airing anywhere from four to seven new episodes. Shows with marginal audience numbers may not return until fall or could be canceled.

The combined New York-Beverly Hills count was overwhelmingly in favor of ending the strike: 3,492 voted yes, with only 283 voting to stay off the job.

Writers did not vote on whether to formally accept the tentativedeal, which was reached after a Feb. 1 breakthrough between union negotiators and studio executives.

The guild will mail contract ratification ballots to members over the next few days. Writers can also vote at meetings. All ballots must be cast by Feb. 25.

The walkout stopped work on dozens of TV shows, disrupted movie production and turned the usually star-studded Golden Globes show into a news conference. It also dealt a severe financial blow to a wide range of businesses dependent on work from studios.

The strike took a $3.2 billion toll in direct and indirect costs on the economy of Los Angeles County, the home of most of the nation's TV and film production, according to a new estimate from Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

The last writers strike, a 153-day walkout in 1988, caused an estimated $500 million in lost wages.

Information for this article was contributed from New York by Clare Trapasso and from Beverly Hills by Raquel Maria Dillon of The Associated Press.

Front Section, Pages 2 on 02/13/2008

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsor Content

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT