Writers Guild of Canada votes overwhelmingly in favor of strike against AI and fair wages

Canadian writers appear ready to strike as they negotiate a contract with the country's independent film and television producers.

The Writers Guild of Canada revealed that 96.5 percent of eligible members voted in favor of a strike if a new deal cannot be reached with the Canadian Media Producers Association. “This strike authorization vote, the first in the guild’s 33-year history, represents a pivotal moment for Canadian screenwriters,” WGC executive director Victoria Shen said Thursday.

The results of the WGC members' vote do not guarantee a work stoppage, but they do provide the Canadian union with an opportunity to strike if ongoing negotiations with local film and television producers over a new independent production deal fail. not to an agreement.

The main obstacles to Canadian union negotiations are ensuring fair compensation for screenwriters, protections against the development of artificial intelligence technologies in action and animated projects, and minimum staffing in the writers' room for national television series. “While a strong strike mandate does not necessarily mean we will strike, it signals to producers that we are prepared to defend ourselves if necessary. We remain committed to negotiating a fair deal for our members,” Shen added.

Issues targeted by the WGC in negotiations with local producers, such as protections for artificial intelligence, writer pay and minimum TV writing staff sizes, also surfaced last year during the negotiations involving the Writers Guild of America and the AMPTP, leading to a prolonged strike by Hollywood writers before a new contract could be reached.

The Canadian vote on strike authorization follows six months of negotiations on a new IPA agreement between the WGC and independent producers. Sean Porter, vice president of national industrial relations and general counsel for the CMPA, said in a statement that his organization remains committed to reaching an agreement with the WGC.

“We believe that a labor dispute would be extremely detrimental to Canada's film and television production sector, and we remain focused on successfully concluding negotiations,” Porter said.

The previous IPA contract expired on December 31, 2023. No date has yet been confirmed for the resumption of negotiations between WGC and CMPA negotiators.

Rolf Mckinney

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