UPDATE, 01:18, May 3: Australian and Canadian film and television unions have joined the UK’s Writers Guild in telling their writers to lower the tools on US shows during the strike.
International sources have pointed to the possibility of Hollywood studios turning to Australian, Canadian and British writers to salvage American works during the industrial action, but each guild has strongly advised its members against this course of action.
The Writers Guild of Australia today issued a statement supporting the WGA. “The Writers’ Guild of Australia supports our fellow WGA writers in their ongoing negotiations and in their decision to go on strike,” the AWG said. “The rights and conditions of screenwriters underpin any healthy and vibrant film industry.
“With the strike now in effect, the AWG advises members not to work on active projects within the jurisdiction of the WGA, to present new projects designed for production within the jurisdiction of the WGA, or to cross picket lines, real or virtual, during the term of strike.
In a statement to Deadlinethe Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) said it would support the WGA during its strike “to the fullest extent possible”, with a new set of rules introduced around the work Canadian guild members can undertake during the period of strike.
The list of rules states that dual members of the WGC and WGA who reside in the United States are bound by the strike rules of the WGA. A WGC member and a Canadian resident can continue to work under the Independent Production Agreement (IPA), which remains in effect until December 31, 2023. However, members cannot accept “stamped work” . This includes all projects that would normally fall under the WGA. Similarly, members of both the WGC and the WGA who reside in Canada may continue to work for producers who fall under the IPA. Again, excluding any “stripped work”.
“The WGC, along with writers guilds around the world, stand in solidarity with the WGA in their strike action for fair compensation for writers. We hope for a speedy and fair resolution,” said WGC Executive Director Victoria Shen. .
Alex Levine, WGC President, added: “The compensation issues that caused WGA members to strike apply to all writers in the age of digital streaming. WGC members support WGA editors in their fight for fairness, and we salute their collective strength and resolve.
The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain was among the first unions to call on its members to support the WGA and not accept work in the United States earlier this week. Streamers can work with overseas writers on local projects that aren’t affiliated with the WGA – yesterday we revealed that Paramount+ had commissioned two UK-based producers to create drama series The shipwrecked.
PREVIOUS, 11:16 a.m. PT, May 2: International unions representing film and television writers around the world have begun sharing their responses to Hollywood’s first writers’ strike in 15 years, as WGA members prepare to hit the picket lines.
Thousands of WGA members are set to march on picket lines across Los Angeles, New York and other major US cities on Tuesday afternoon after the WGA announced it was not in able to strike a last-minute deal with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year contract to replace the one that expired on Monday night.
Giorgio Glaviano, president of the Writers’ Guild of Italy, said Deadline the union “followed the negotiations of our American colleagues with great apprehension”.
RELATED: Complete Deadline Strike Coverage
“We express our solidarity with our colleagues at the WGA, because their struggles are also ours,” Glaviano said. “All over the world, the figure of the screenwriter is threatened by ever tighter salaries and increasingly vexatious working conditions.”
Glaviano supported the WGA’s concerns about the use of artificial intelligence, writing that the technology risks making writers’ work “more and more a struggle for survival”. During negotiations with the AMPTP, the WGA requested regulations regarding the use of AI on projects covered by the MBA. In response, the studios proposed the introduction of annual meetings “to discuss technological advancements”.
Glaviano ended the letter: “We will support our American colleagues in every way. Because the only thing that interests us and unites us all as authors is to tell the world, to bring emotions to life, and to make spectators dream.
RELATED: What Went Wrong? Writers and Studios Reveal What They Couldn’t (and Could) Agree on as Strike Calls
Meanwhile in Israel, the nation that brought Fauda And Shtisel world, the Screenwriters Guild of Israel has unequivocally supported the WGA.
“SGI Writers stand in solidarity with our WGA E/W brothers and sisters and support their fight for the survival of writing as a viable profession,” a statement on social media said this morning. “The SGI stands with all striking WGA E/W members on the picket line and calls on the AMPTP to be reasonable and pay.”
Hugh Farley, director of the Writers’ Guild of Ireland, pointed Deadline to a statement from WGI President Jennifer Davidson, released on April 19.
“The Writers’ Guild of Ireland strongly supports our colleagues at the WGA in their negotiations for better terms for their members,” she said. “The issues they raise are issues we face as Irish writers, if not now then at least in the near future.”
RELATED: Strike Writers Gather on Social Media; “Don’t believe the spin that’s already coming out. We’re going to fight”
WGA members “deserve a deal that allows writers to share in the success of the content they create,” Davidson added, stressing the need for Irish writers to be executive producers of their own shows to ensure that they are fairly remunerated.
In accordance with writers’ guilds’ international affiliation agreements, the Israeli and Irish unions said they would encourage all writers who are members of American shows to give up their tools. The Writers Guild of Great Britain issued a similar directive.
Writers’ Guild of Sweden CEO Susin Lindblom-Curman told us that “many of the issues the Writers Guild of America has raised in their negotiations also concern Swedish and European screenwriters, and we are grateful to them for choosing to take collective action.
“This fight will be of great importance to writers who can support themselves, as well as writers who can exert artistic influence. The Writers Guild of Sweden wishes to express its full support to our colleges of the Writers Guild America, and we urge our members to show solidarity during the conflict.
France’s largest writers’ union and WGA affiliate, La Guilde, representing around 250 film and television professionals, around a third of the national pool, also voiced support for the strike.
“Our position is one of solidarity with the WGA and we are absolutely against anyone breaking the strike,” said the organization’s president, Marie Roussin.
“We have witnessed a real deterioration in the working conditions of American writers, with a rise in precariousness and instability, and the introduction of the mini-room, which destroys a system through which writers evolved and built a career.
She noted, however, that The Guild could not prevent its members or non-members from accepting US-based work, even if its position was against such a move.
“Not all screenwriters in France are members of La Guilde. As individuals, they can do whatever they want. We have no control over their actions. Even for our members, we cannot make them refuse to work,” Roussin said.
La Guilde signed France’s first interprofessional agreement last month between SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers) and French production organizations SPI and UPSA.
The landmark agreement introduced new guidelines for screenwriter contracts and the first-ever minimum pay rate structure. “We are much stronger than ever but today we couldn’t go on strike (in France) because not all screenwriters in France are registered,” Roussin said.
Picket lines will go up at 1:00 p.m. PT Tuesday at 10 Los Angeles studios from Amazon to Warner Bros, as well as the Peacock NewFront presentation on 5th Avenue in New York City.
The WGA’s last work stoppage lasted 14 weeks in 2007-08.
We’ll update this story with more international reactions as we go.