The studios walked on negotiations after issuing an ultimatum to the WGA. (Thanks, Nikki Finke for the amazing strike coverage.) In my opinion, they have virtually guaranteed a very long and painful strike. One of the heads of IATSE, who’s employees are likely to suffer the most, came out bitterly against the writers, saying:
“[T]hey are destroying a lot of lives…. [T]he number of IA members who have lost work is fast approaching 40,000 people representing members all over the US and Canada. Unless and until the WGA leadership starts behaving responsibly, which is unlikely, not only wages, health insurance coverage and pension benefits will be lost. Homes and businesses will be lost, too.”
(As reported in the pro-AMPTP Variety.) IATSE has a history of siding with the studios over the writers.
My analysis: The writers have no choice but to hang tough. The studios understand the damage a long strike will cause everyone, but prefer to let the pressure on the writers build. The studios are orchestrating this strike, deciding how long it will last, and they are prolonging it in the hopes of breaking the WGA completely. The damage and bitterness this strike will leave behind (on all sides) will last for many, many years, perhaps reshaping the industry. If the writers thought this would be anything less than a dogfight, they were mistaken. Nevertheless, go writers. It is going to be very, very tough, but you really have no choice.