Sesame Street writers unanimously approve strike authorization

Variety reports that the writing staff for Sesame Street has unanimously voted to approve of a strike authorization if they cannot reach a satisfactory contract agreement by this Friday, April 19. From the article:

The 35 writers represented by the union have been in negotiations with the production company behind "Sesame Street" and other children's programs since February. If the sides can't reach a deal by April 19, picketing will begin outside Sesame Workshop's Manhattan headquarters on April 24, the WGA said Tuesday.

"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 union's Sesame Workshop negotiating committee said in a statement. "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."

WGA East president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen added:

No one wants to see a picket line on Sesame Street. 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.

This statement is not entirely accurate, however. As the parent of a toddler, I absolutely want to see a picket line on Sesame Street, just so I can hear Elmo explain how the withholding of labor is the only means by which the working class can advocate for itself against the interests of capital. While sure, Bert might have a few neurotic concerns about the extremity of such actions — not least of which being the financial sacrifices being made by the workers in order to uphold the strike — I have faith that Ernie can convince him of the righteousness and fairness of the cause.

The producing company sitting across the table from the writers' union is Sesame Workshop, which is technically a nonprofit organization. Since late 2015, however, the show has been owned and financed by HBO, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc — which, of course, is run by David Zaslav, a mustache-twirling monster of an executive who has gleefully positioned himself as the Final Boss and Adversary of the entire creative working class. Surely that's not a factor in these negotiations!

Sesame Street Writers Approve WGA Strike Authorization Vote as Contract Expiration Looms [William Earl / Variety]

Previously: Mystery of creepy 1970s Sesame Street clip solved