The Writers Guild of America told members Sunday to be ready to hit the picket lines if no agreement is reached by midnight on Monday.
In an email, the guild asked members to fill out a “picketing survey,” providing their preferred time and location to join in, by noon on Monday.
“The greatest amount of leverage we collectively bring to a strike action is the withdrawal of our labor,” the guild wrote. “Picketing is a key tactic to demonstrate that we are all in this together, and that until a strike is resolved, it’s not business as usual.”
Negotiators for the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers worked on Saturday and Sunday at AMPTP headquarters in Sherman Oaks. The email provided no update on the talks, other than to say that the negotiating committee “continues to bargain with the AMPTP with the goal of reaching a fair deal by tomorrow’s May 1st contract deadline.”
They are set to return to the table on Monday, and negotiations are expected to go right up to the midnight deadline.
The union is seeking an increase in compensation, a minimum staffing level for TV writers rooms, and a total overhaul of the formula for calculating residuals in streaming. The negotiations have been underway since March 20.
Last week, the guild sent out a detailed set of strike rules, advising members not to perform “writing services” or negotiate for work with struck companies if a strike is called.
Production has slowed noticeably over the last few weeks, as shows wrap ahead of the strike deadline. According to FilmLA, no scripted shows have yet pulled permits to shoot on location after Monday. The studios have long known that a strike was a distinct possibility, and have been bracing themselves and preparing as if a strike is imminent.
If a strike were called, late-night talk shows would shut down, along with “Saturday Night Live.” The scripted TV production pipeline would also largely halt, though it might take weeks or months for viewers to notice an interruption in programming.
Matt Donnelly contributed to this story.