Writers Guild of Canada votes in favour of strike over AI & fair pay with 96.5% majority

Victoria Shen (Source: WGC)

Members of the Writers Guild of Canada (WGC) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of authorising strike action against the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA).

Following a week-long voting period, 96.5% of those members that took part supported a strike if a new deal with the CMPA cannot be reached. The vote brought the highest turnout in the WGC’s history, with 70.2% of eligible members taking part.

“This strike authorisation vote, a first in the guild’s 33-year history, represents a pivotal moment for Canadian screenwriters. It underscores our members’ commitment to securing fair compensation and meaningful AI protections in an ever-evolving industry” said WGC executive director Victoria Shen in a statement.

The WGC and CMPA have been in negotiations for six months but have so far been unable to reach an agreement. Writers are seeking protections against the use of AI increased, agreements around securing minimum staffing on productions and increased pay, particular for those in the animation industry.

Shen said that while the WGC’s “strong strike mandate” does not necessarily mean that the guild will go on strike “it tells the producers we are ready to defend ourselves if necessary. We remain committed to negotiating a fair agreement for our members.”

The CMPA’s VP of national industrial relations and counsel, Sean Porter, said that the association “remains at the table and is committed to a negotiated settlement with the WGC.”

Porter said: “Canadian producers value the work of Canadian screenwriters and sincerely believe that future Canadian projects should be written by humans, not AI algorithms.

“We believe a labour dispute would be extremely damaging to the domestic Canadian film and television production sector and we remain focused on successfully concluding negotiations.”

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