Netflix Investors Vote Against Top-Level Executives Getting Major Bonuses Amid Writers’ Strike

Netflix shareholders have made a major financial move amid the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. On Thursday, reports revealed that Netflix shareholders voted against approving proposed pay packages for the company’s executives, including CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters. The vote reportedly occurred at the company’s June 1st annual shareholders meeting, after unanimously recommending the vote. That being said, the vote was reportedly a “say-on-pay” non-binding measure, and could ultimately be disregarded by Netflix’s board anyway. In a letter on Tuesday, the WGA had asked investors to vote against the proposal — but according to reports, many of the votes had already been cast prior to that letter being published.

“While investors have long taken issue with Netflix’s executive pay, the compensation structure is more egregious against the backdrop of the strike,” WGA West president Meredith Stiehm wrote in the letter, before adding, “Shareholders should send a message to Netflix that if the company could afford to spend $166 million on executive compensation last year, it can afford to pay the estimated $68 million per year that writers are asking for in contract improvements and put an end to the disruptive strike.”

Why are the WGA striking?

The WGA have cited a slew of reasons for the strike, which began on May 1st and has already begun to have a domino effect on the larger industry. The union hopes to see improvements in residuals from media streamed online, as well as additional benefits and safeguards against artificial intelligence potentially being used to write stories instead of real writers.

“Though we negotiated intent on making a fair deal — and though your strike vote gave us the leverage to make some gains — the studios’ responses to our proposals have been wholly insufficient, given the existential crisis writers are facing,” the WGA said in a statement on May 1st. “We must now exert the maximum leverage possible to get a fair contract by withholding our labor.”

The statement continued: “The WGA Negotiating Committee began this process intent on making a fair deal, but the studios’ responses have been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing. The companies’ behavior has created a gig economy inside a union workforce, and their immovable stance in this negotiation has betrayed a commitment to further devaluing the profession of writing. From their refusal to guarantee any level of weekly employment in episodic television, to the creation of a ‘day rate’ in comedy variety, to their stonewalling on free work for screenwriters and on AI for all writers, they have closed the door on their labor force and opened the door to writing as an entirely freelance profession. No such deal could ever be contemplated by this membership.”

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