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WGA Leaders Call for Strike

The Writers Guild of America negotiating committee called for a strike at a meeting with members Thursday night. Barring a last-minute deal with networks and studios, Hollywood writers will likely stage a work stoppage on Monday.

During a rally at the Los Angeles Convention Center, the guild negotiating committee announced its strike recommendation to about 2,700 members. Response in the room was overwhelmingly positive, sources said.

The WGA’s East council and its West board will convene Friday morning to receive the strike recommendation. Sources say leaders plan to select Monday as the strike start date.

The Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers quickly sent out a statement from president Nick Counter, saying networks and studios were still prepared to make a deal.

“By the WGA leadership's actions at the bargaining table, we are not surprised by tonight's recommendation,” he said. “We are ready to meet and are prepared to close this contract this weekend.”

Attending guild members included many high-profile series showrunners. At the start of the meeting, 300 picket captains received a standing ovation from the crowd. After, a lengthy line of members waited to sign up as captains.

From the stage, “The Shield” showrunner Shawn Ryan said he attended a Teamsters meeting, got a lesson in solidarity and was “blown away by their support.”

John Bowman, chair of the Writers Guild of America's negotiating committee, declared he would not cross the picket lines, saying “it’s a moral decision.”
Negotiations between the AMPTP and WGA fell apart Wednesday over a longtime point of conflict: how to split revenue from sales of shows on DVD and digital mediums.

“The AMPTP brought negotiations to a halt,” said the WGA in a statement. “This morning we presented the AMPTP with a comprehensive package of proposals that included movement on DVDs, new media and jurisdictional issues. We also took nine proposals off the table. The companies returned six hours later and said they would not respond to our package until we capitulated to their Internet demand.”

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