It’s been more than nine years since the last WGA strike ended, with another now looming, but guild members still are paying for it. According to the WGA West’s most recent report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, 45 writers still owed the guild $392,883 in strike loans from the 100-day 2007-08 walkout, as of the guild’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2016.
One writer still owed more than $30,000; six others owed more than $20,000; seven owed more than $10,000; and 10 others owed more than $5,000. Some of those loans, which are secured by future residuals, might have been paid down during the past year, as they have been every year since the last strike. One writer who received a $71,000 strike loan finally paid it off in full last year.
But many other loans remain outstanding. According to the guild’s financial reports, $1 million in strike loans have been repaid since the 2007-08 walkout, when the guild loaned $2.86 million to 189 writers. As of the guild’s latest report, it still is owed $1.86 million in strike loans.
As the guild noted in its latest financial report filed with DOL: “Strike loans were made to members in good standing who suffered direct financial hardship due to the strike that commenced on November 5, 2007, and ended on February 13, 2008, as well as due to an earlier 1988 strike.”
The WGA East, meanwhile, doesn’t have any outstanding loans from the last strike, when it issued strike loans to 31 members totaling $227,000. Six of those loans totaling nearly $10,000, however, were “written off as uncollectible,” according to a WGA East financial report.
Both guilds now are preparing to ask their members for strike authorization after negotiations for a new film and TV contract broke off Friday. And if a strike comes on May 1, when the current contract expires, they’ll no doubt be asked to issue a new batch of strike loans to members who will suffer direct financial hardship.