Sesame Workshop Writers Authorize Strike Ahead of Friday’s Contract Deadline

“We are committed to working with Sesame Workshop to codify a fair contract for writers,” the WGA Sesame Workshop negotiating committee says

Best Friend Band - Sesame Street
"Sesame Street" (Credit: Sesame Workshop)

Sesame Workshop writers unanimously voted to authorize the Writers Guild of America to order a strike if the children’s television production company does not reach a deal with the union by Friday’s deadline, the WGA said Tuesday.

“The writers that Sesame Workshop hires are deeply committed to the work that we do. Like the Workshop itself, we are mission-driven and child-focused and we work hard at telling stories that contribute to the Workshop’s curricula inspired by heart, curiosity, community, kindness, diversity, equity and inclusion,” the WGA Sesame Workshop negotiating committee said in a statement.

“We are committed to working with Sesame Workshop to codify a fair contract for writers that embodies these values, and which allows the Workshop to continue to attract top-level talent who can artfully create stories that successfully balance entertainment, playfulness and joy with education and enrichment,” the statement continued.

“Our demands would be extremely meaningful for the affected writers, particularly those in animation who are currently being excluded from basic union benefits and protections like pension and healthcare. We hope for a speedy and amicable resolution to these negotiations so that we can continue to do the work of helping the next generation grow smarter, stronger and kinder.”

If a deal is not reached by Friday, WGA East will order a strike and stage picket lines in front of the Sesame Workshop headquarters on Broadway in New York City.

“No one wants to see a picket line on Sesame Street,” WGAE president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said. “Millions of parents and families around the world are going to have a lot of questions. They might ask why the bosses at Sesame Workshop are ignoring their company’s own messages of kindness and fairness.”

The strike authorization comes nearly a year after the WGA kicked off a unionwide strike that lasted 148 days, only five days shy of the record for the union’s longest strike set in 1988.

Among the key demands from the 35 writers who work at Sesame Workshop since their negotiations began in February are a performance-based residual structure similar to the one the WGA negotiated with major Hollywood studios last year, union minimums that span the entirety of the studio’s work from television to podcasts, and the establishment of a paid parental leave fund.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.