NEW YORK (AFP) — News writers from US network CBS have voted to join a more than two-week-old strike by television and film screenwriters and could stop work at any time, their union said in a statement.
The vote by almost 300 CBS staff from the Writers Guild of America opens the way for them to join more than 3,000 film and television writers who stopped work on November 5 to demand a bigger cut of DVD sales and Internet downloads.
CBS news writers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington had been working under expired contracts since April 2005, the Writers Guild of America said, adding that the two sides had not held contract talks since January.
"Our members at CBS News consistently have demonstrated their hard work and commitment to quality journalism, but have had their dedication and diligence rebuffed by management's refusal to negotiate a fair, respectful contract," said Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East.
"By this powerful vote and other actions they have taken, Writers Guild members are sending their CBS bosses an irrefutable message of solidarity: we will do whatever it takes to get what we have earned and deserve."
The current strike is the first by the writers guild for nearly 20 years and has plunged the industry into turmoil, halting production on hit television shows like "Desperate Housewives" and forcing the postponement of "24."
Popular late night chat shows hosted by Jay Leno and David Letterman have also gone into shutdown because of the strike, while an Oliver Stone-directed movie about the Vietnam War's My Lai Massacre has also been put on hold.
Industry analysts believe the stoppage could last several months, although the two sides are scheduled to hold new talks on November 26.
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