WGA Members Vote For Strike Authorization – Star Trek Discovery Writers Voice Their Support

The Writers Guild of America just announced that their members have voted to give the union the authority to call a strike if negotiations fail to produce a new contract. 96% of writers supported the authorization via an online vote, more than the 90% who voted for one before the last strike in 2007. The vote gives the WGA more leverage in their negotiations with the AMPTP (the group representing the studios) which begin again tomorrow after being suspended last week.

The current contract expires at midnight on May 1st. The parties have until then to agree on a new contract or a strike could begin as early as May 2nd. The AMPTP also sent out a statement saying in part “The Companies are committed to reaching a deal at the bargaining table that keeps the industry working. The 2007 Writers Strike hurt everyone.”

At issue are disputes over wages and the health care plan for the writers. The specific issues on wages laid out by the WGA focus on how TV has changed in the last decade since the last contract. TV shows now have shorter seasons and there has been a marked rise of non-broadcast network productions, especially with streaming services. Both of these issues apply to Star Trek: Discovery, which is being produced for CBS All Access and will have a thirteen episode first season.

Some of the writers for Star Trek: Discovery voiced their support for the strike authorization via Twitter when voting began last week, including Bo Yeon Kim and Sean Cochran. Supervising Producer Ted Sullivan also urged his fellow writers to vote yes.

Even the Stella the Star Trek Dog account (presumably run by Nicholas Meyer) noted the importance of writers to Star Trek.

What happens to Discovery if there is a strike?

Production for the first season of Star Trek: Discovery began at the end of January and is still underway with only a few episodes shot so far.  The writers have been working hard over the last few weeks in anticipation of a possible strike. Of course all that work would stop next week if the strike happens, however production on the show can continue with any scripts that have been completed. WGA members who are also producers on the show, such as showrunners Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg could continue to work on Discovery in their capacities as producers, but they would not be allowed to make any changes to scripts.

It is not known how many scripts will be completed by the deadline, but it will not be enough for a complete season. In the case of a prolonged strike, CBS will eventually run out of material to shoot. A lengthy strike (like the 1988 or 2007 strikes) could easily push the premiere for Star Trek: Discovery  yet again. The potential looming strike may have been one of the reasons the head of CBS All Access was recently unwilling to commit to a premiere date for the series.

How have past strikes impacted Star Trek?

If the WGA goes on strike, it will not be the first time this has happened during the production Star Trek on TV or film.  Back in 1973 the animated Star Trek series actually benefited from a WGA strike because it didn’t apply to animation. Had there not been a general writers strike they may never had been able to attract some of the better writers to pen scrips for a cartoon.

The WGA strike in 1988 lasted five months, which ended up cutting the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation short, going from the planned 26 episodes to 22. And even with the shorter season, producers were forced to to dust off an unused script from 1970s Phase II project to be re-purposed into the first episode of the season. Luckily for them the characters of Riker and Troi were patterned after Decker and Ilia making “The Child” somewhat easier to tweak into a TNG script. The second season also premiered two weeks late, so to fill the slots Paramount produced a two-hour special The Star Trek Saga: From One Generation To The Next, which was basically a wrapper around the first airing of the original Star Trek pilot, “The Cage.”

TNG’s “The Child” was adapted from unused Phase II script due to 1988 WGA strike

Budget over-runs for the second season of TNG, which have been attributed to the strike, are responsible for Paramount severely cutting the budget for the final episode. This resulted in the only clip show for the franchise, the much maligned “Shades of Grey.” 

The 1988 strike also occurred during the pre-production of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and is considered on of the contributing factors for that films poor reception and box office performance.

The last WGA strike lasted three months from late 2007 into early 2008.  It began right after the script for the 2009 Star Trek film was completed. Much of the film was shot during the strike which meant last-minute changes could not be made on the set, which director J.J. Abrams lamented did cause him some frustration.

Writer picketing Paramount as Star Trek (2009) was being filmed

TrekMovie will monitor events with the potential WGA strike as they happen and report on any updates.

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95 Comments on "WGA Members Vote For Strike Authorization – Star Trek Discovery Writers Voice Their Support"

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Well, these people gotta do what they think is right. That being said, I do selfishly hope it doesn’t result in another delay. I’m ready to do some Discovering up in here, yo.

This is how Discovery is being perceived outside of the fandom

gizmodo.co.uk/2017/04/what-the-hell-is-going-on-with-star-trek-discovery

Good article.

“”And even if it’s good, who is going to see it? CBS has burned through so much good will at this point that they’ve done the impossible and managed to make Star Trek fans unenthusiastic.””

Wake up sheeple.

Thank you for that article. Katharine Trendacosta and Io9 are the very people CBS should be worried about. As you correctly point out, they’re people who reach science fiction fans outside Trekdom.

For now, it’s been mostly among us Trekkers that Discovery has been worrying, but CBS’s lack of support (i.e. refusing to divulge almost anything about production details (or characters bios, etc.) is filtering out.

I’ve stated so many times over and over again to other users of this site that they are looking through rose tinted glasses. Using the trek fan sites will not give any accurate perception of how Discovery and CBS is being perceived by all but the hard core TOS fanboys. They need to get a grip on reality, as the article quite rightly points out, there is so much hate for Discovery from the outset that at this point they are going to need a Game Of Thrones, Stranger Things or Mr Robot to make this a success. “Mediocre” or “good” wont be enough to pull people back in, by people I mean the people who don’t really have any interest in, or want to see a TOS prequel, so pretty much everyone under the age of 40. Of course, they will look at articles like that, and the comments we’re always slapped down for “hating on discovery”, and they will simply say “wait and give it a go”. That’s the problem, right there. We don’t want to “wait and see” another prequel. We want the continuity to continue as it was before Enterprise ran the franchise in to the ground. Having taken over a decade to get the thing restarted again, we’re told it’s another prequel! To add to the prequel movies! Seriously guys, If you enjoy it, that’s up to you, but I don’t think there are enough of you to keep it in production. It’s sad because… Read more »

Absolutely agree with you. The competition out there these days will demand no less.

You’ll note the usual vocal tribe of TOS crew have ignored this thread completely. The reality of the situation is no doubt beginning to dawn on them.

It’s bad.
You can spend a good hour at io9 reading through the comments. There are hundreds of them, no one has anything positive to say.

Contrast that with here, where the hardcore fans slap everyone else down and tell you that you’re in the minority.

Oh dear.

io9.gizmodo.com/what-the-fuck-is-going-on-with-star-trek-discovery-1794639961

These people are just going on strike because they want more money geez don’t they get enough as it is? greedy bastards.

But Nowhere Near as Greedy as Actors !

Or studio execs.

“These people are just going on strike because they want more money”

Just what do you think a strike is?

I know what a Strike is my point is these people should just shut up except what they get and keep doing there Job.

Difficult to take an opinion as stupid as this seriously, especially when you don’t know the difference between “except” and “accept” as well as “there” and “their”.

Just goes to show that we do indeed need folks who can actually write in English, even if we have to pay them a living wage for it. :-)

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Ummm a strike doesn’t have to be about money. People strike from factories due to unsafe work conditions etc etc

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay),

Re: Ummm a strike doesn’t have to be about money.

Is that tantamount to you saying that you always suspected that the writers’ room that Skydance set up was a sweatshop? ;-)

How dare the talented people be appropriately compensated for their talents. Since you seem semi-literate yourself, perhaps you should be happy that such people exist.

Doesn’t this make a huge assumption that they are not already getting appropriately compensated? Isn’t this statement assuming the validity of one side’s position over the other without supporting evidence?

My thoughts exactly. There are two sides to every issue. Here we could indeed have greedy bastards who want more money than they deserve, or lazy sloths who want less work hours per week, or jerks who want work security so they can be protected from being fired even if they’re incompetent, or the bastards could be the execs at the studios who want to continue to exploit the writers… Who knows? Probably both sides have legitimate positions to defend.

D is for Discovery.
D is for Disaster.

“Enter Prize” is for moron.

One thing after another

Bloody TYPICAL!

Always something to ruin our Star Trek future!

Any hope for a ‘Star Trek-type future’ wholly relies on conditions for a better world being realized in the present. Trek fans actually understood this back in the day.

Thumbs up times a million

I hate it when Mommy and Daddy fight.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Lol genuinely funny.

Just give the writers whatever they want. I can’t wait much longer for more Trek.

Man this would suck if another delay happens over it but I support it 100%! These people deserve more and if that means Discovery will get delayed even longer so be it. There is tons of other options out there….because of all the writers who create it in the first place.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

Can you actually quote off the top of your head how much different writers make in a year or do you just think they need more?

Why do you think they deserve more? How much do they get now? Why are they more deserving of more than you or I? Don’t you think it’s possible that they already get too much because of their union exploiting its monopolistic stranglehold on the supply of writers for television shows?

Binyamin,

Re: Why do you think they deserve more?

I’d say that given writers are the ones involved in the process of actually creating something out of nothing, that they deserve to be valued at least as much as Brad Grey’s conribution to the process.

There was no writers strike in 1990s? So why do first two seasons of Voyager feel like repurposed TNG rejects? ;-)

Ah, but well, writers are tired anyway. Let them go flip burgers, hire some overseas writer talents instead. Hollywood needs a bit of creative fresh wind. :-P

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

And I thought Voyagers 1st three seasons were it’s best. Thenew they jumped the Borg shark and it was crappie from there.

Is there some rule that you can’t make on-the-set changes if the writers are on strike? Changes like that happen all the time.

Nachum,

Actors can always adlib, but directors and executives who are also members of a striking WGA are not allowed to indicate what kind of ad libs that they are looking for, or approving of.

Not only that but editing is a form of writing, and member/producers who engage in it are frowned upon. I’ve worked with such members who snuck onto the lot, under the cover of darkness, to finish shows during the last strike.

Interesting. And I imagine quitting the WGA for the duration is probably not an option.

I remember reading the George Lucas was fined by the DGA for not including credits in the opening of Star Wars. (He felt it would have ruined the movie.) He paid the fine and then promptly quit the DGA.

STV was delayed because of a writers strike in 1988. Nimoy took another job & ILM became booked up with other sequel work! STV would have turned out a way lot better without that as Paramount forced a summer 1989 release regardless of the film not being finished properly!!!

Star Trek V was a stupid story from the beginning, nothing was going to save it. What does God need with a Shatner?

Harry Plinkett,

Can we really hang the God thing all on Shatner? As I recall, Gene’s original movie script for the first movie was literally, THE GOD THING?

Shatner understood the characters. Some of the best scenes were in V. And the Premise was interesting. A powerful alien posing as God. Has merit.

V is nowhere near the worse ST movie! 81st TOS episode to me (I count the Cage 2 parter and original unseen pilot as padding the ep count up to 80!!).

I completely agree. V comes closest to being an average TOS episode, IMHO. It defenitely captures the spirit of what made TOS great, humour included.

defInitely…

Roddenberry had been trying to do this since the early seventies, and kept trying after. And the producing team would roll their eyes and say “There goes Gene with his God Thing again” and politely ignore him.

I have no idea why they suddenly thought it was a good idea in 1987 or so.

Well, it was Shatners idea, as he was offered the directors chair, and had some great leverage in what it was going to be about, I think…

DataMat,

Re: … Shatners idea…

While he said he didn’t recall it, it is well documented that Shatner was there and well aware what it was about at the time when Gene had completed THE GOD THING script.

Star Trek V is not terrible. God almighty lol.

Its got some really good scenes. The comedy is clearly forced in places, but its quite funny anyway. Scotty is great! Its a really forgivable film when we get Trek VI (really great trek film) anyway. Its like a fun side adventure..

Don’t get me wrong, I love Trek V and I love it BECAUSE it’s so stupid and corny. It’s a fantastic drunk party movie.

was amazed paramount thought they could put out a movie like V in that state during a busy summer season like 1989.
definitely needed a better final draft, a bigger budget and a fall release date.

still a fun watch though.

‘i liked him better before he died!’

It’s almost as if dark forces in the world don’t want Discovery made. What do they know that we don’t? Oh crap my tin foil hat fell off.

Maybe the dark forces of the world don’t want it made because it is TOO GOOD. If they’re truly dark forces, then that would make sense…

Ah excellent point. I like your thinking :D

It’s disheartening to see a professional writer try to encourage other writers by using language like, “U R” and “2 check inbox 4 ballot.”

Ian,

I’m considering the possibility that you never had to send a telegram, back in its day, with the meager resource of a writer’s stipend.

Telegram? Has anyone under the age of 70 ever sent one?

Thorny,

Re: Has anyone under the age of 70 ever sent one?

Short answer: Yes.

https://itelegram.com/telegram/Western_Union_iTelegram_2006.asp

It’s disheartening that people like you don’t understand how things work in the real world. Cough *twitter’s character limit* cough

Torchwood,

Exactly, with the telegram it was the economy of great monetary expense afforded certain words and symbols affecting prose construction. With Twitter, it’s the economy of available space having a similar effect.

…and you’d think a writer would avoid abbreviating when it’s not necessary.

Ian,

Re: …a writer would avoid abbreviating…

As in the shining example you set by avoiding contractions that were not necessary?

Yes, my aversion to the butchering of the English language doesn’t predate the invention of the contraction.

Ian,

Re: predate

Apparently, it does. As periodless abbreviations were with the English language from the earliest and long before the apostrophized contractions of 1755.

“If you’re @WGAWest, remember to check inbox (& spam folder) for ballot. I urge you to vote YES to give the Board leverage they’re asking for”

Count the characters, negotiate me a raise.

A shame you don’t understand how things work in the real world. Not everyone sits there testing character limits. Sometimes people just want to get the message out.

End of the day– who gives a $%^? Only a pedantic, semantic arsehole.

So when you lose the argument your recourse is to say it was stupid to argue over it to begin with? Probably not the best response. Graciously admitting you were wrong would look 100 times better.

I’m a writer who’s not a member of the WGA. Give me a call and $10,000 and I’ll handle the rest of the scripts for ya!

I tend to let scabs fall off, rather than hire them.

Get over yourself.

I kinda hope this strike doesn’t happen, but also thinks it’s fair to push to renogotiate for different/better terms when Hollywood is making a lot of money these days, and also since their last contracts didn’t contemplate the rise and importance of streaming services.

On a side note to CAA, DC/Warner Brothers just announced a new streaming/digital platform that will launch with a live-action DC series and an animated series, only available via their service.

Aaron (Naysayers are gonna nay)

To bad fans can’t submit scripts. They’d have hundreds to choose from.

The show has been filming for a while. How far along are they?

Try reading the article, which talks about that exact question, instead of just posting your question and expecting us to answer it for you. Geesh…

Indeed. The article was a bit vague on that point (“few episodes”), given the January start. Hence my follow up, wondering if there were more insights. But thanks for being so understanding. Much appreciated.

Think it through. If Trekmovie *had* more information that what’s in the article, they would have put that information in the article. So your question indicated either (a) you didn’t read the article in the first place or (b) you didn’t think it through after you read it.

Well, f@ck!

I just remember what a job a previous strike did on TNG’s near catatonic second season. I absolutely support the writers, but it’s bad news for Discovery.

It’s bad news for all productions.

But this illustrates the beauty of being streaming: they are not locked into a release date, not at the mercy of advertising. They can continue to delay the series until the strike ends, if that’s important to them.

And here come the whiners…

Meanwhile, here you are, already whining about the whiners.

Are they just trying to delay the premiere for Discovery, CBS seems all to happy to delay it (but when Fuller asked, ‘heck no’ was the reply). I fear that this is a slow motion train crash of a show… so sad.

delay delay delay of discovery….starting to loose interest in the show and it hasn’t even aired.. i support unions and strikes but if this show doesn’t give us something to chew on…cancelling tv we all know they wont market it good either ..at least star wars offers us cool stuff.

Might be a good thing, they might turn it into a 2-4/6 part mini-series & if its as bad as it sounds so far it will tank, they can blame the strike & they can leave it there without wasteing the resources to do a whole series then use the extra time to go back to the Prime Universe drawingboard.

This show is becoming a punchline at this point. Riddle with issues and delays, unworthy of actually air time and owned by a company that couldn’t get it out on the 50th anniversary (you had ONE job CBS!), does anyone expect to not be reading articles about why the show failed a year from now?

I don’t expect the show to fail, IMHO. I’m just pissed off at being taken for granted.

EVERY time the WGA contract is up, they wind up having to strike before the studios will budge. EVERY time. And then the studios have the gall to say “the last strike hurt everyone”. Well if it hurt so much, why do they let it get to this point every time? I’m not saying that the writers shouldn’t compromise, but the studios don’t even start to consider compromises that are reasonable until the strike has been going on for months. And unlike the writers, studio heads get steady earnings while the strike is going on. I’m not seeing a lot of pain there.

I see people commenting “Don’t they make enough already?”. That’s like pointing out how much (insert star actor of the moment) makes per picture and using it to gauge what every actor makes. Only a small fraction of writers (or actors) make enough to exist exclusively on their writer (or actor) earnings, and that’s what makes the other benefits they get so important.

Under the WGA, writers get paid the same whether they write good material or bad. Come up with a system that pays writers what they’re worth and let the cream rise to the top, and the rest find another occupation, and you might get some sympathy …

In twenty years, AI and data analytics get to the point where you don’t need “human” writers, thanks to the so-called “technological singularity”, the WGA will be a thing of the past. Watch for it.

Crisis averted. New contract agreed upon at 1:00 AM PST 5/2/17

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