LA Times -Members of the Writers Guild of America are expected to give their leaders authority to call a strike against the major film and TV companies after their contract expires May 1.
If writers walk off the job, scores of productions would be halted at a time when Los Angeles is enjoying a surge in the number of TV shows that shoot in the region.
Both sides remain far apart on key issues, people close to the negotiations said. The writers maintain that they have suffered from the brunt of dramatic changes that have reshaped television, the economic engine of the industry. The guild, which has nearly 13,000 members, also has asked the companies to contribute more to the union’s health plan, which has incurred deficits in recent years.
The escalation of labor tensions has caught the industry off guard. TV networks and studios have been scrambling to come up with contingency plans, including delaying the premieres of scripted shows they planned to roll out in the summer months and brushing up scripts for movies nearing production.
“This just kind of sneaked up on us,” one programming executive said.