The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) joins with our creative colleagues in support of film and television writers taking to the picket lines today in the United States. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has voted to begin strike action against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) today (May 2).
At issue are a complexity of concerns affecting all writers, including, but not limited to, inadequate compensation for our labour. The WGA is also demanding structural changes to the professional agreements for screenwriters, including weekly employment guarantees, better royalty rates for streaming, the removal of pressure for unpaid labour, and protection from the unlicensed use of their work by artificial intelligence engines. The WGA accuses large production and streaming companies of creating “a gig economy inside a union workforce.”
“Many of Canada’s book authors also work in film and television,” noted TWUC Chair, Rhea Tregebov. “Their concerns are our concerns. Over the last three decades, with increased corporate concentration and the dominance of digital, the industry playing field has been tilted against creative professions, and it has become more and more difficult to make a living from creative labour. The structural change screenwriters demand applies across the creative sector.”
While Canada’s screenwriters work under a domestic collective agreement through the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), and are therefore not on strike, WGC members will not cross picket lines, and all writers are watching the WGA labour action closely. TWUC will inform members of further support measures as they develop.
The Writers’ Union of Canada (TWUC) is the national organization of professionally published writers. TWUC was founded in 1973 to work with governments, publishers, booksellers, and readers to improve the conditions of Canadian writers. Now over 2,600 members strong, TWUC advocates on behalf of writers’ collective interests, and delivers value to members through advocacy, community, and information. TWUC believes in a thriving, diverse Canadian culture that values and supports writers.
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For additional information:
John Degen, Chief Executive Officer
The Writers’ Union of Canada
Date: May 2, 2023