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Writers Guild of America members authorize strike

With their union contract scheduled to expire on May 1, Writers Guild of America members voted on Monday to authorize a strike.

The guild said that 67.5 percent of eligible members voted, and 96.3 percent were in favor of the measure. On Tuesday, the union is expected to pick up negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major Hollywood studios and broadcast networks. The writers are asking for pay increases, larger residuals for shows on streaming services like Netflix, and bigger employer contributions to the health plan.

The guild says that over the last two years, the average salary for a television writer-producer is down 23 percent, the Los Angeles Times reports. If negotiations fail and a strike is called, it will have a major impact on the television and film industry, cutting seasons short and affecting the fall season and possibly beyond; during the last strike in 2007, which lasted 100 days, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers says writers lost more than $287 million in compensation and the walkout "hurt everyone."