Sesame Street writers vote to strike if a new deal isn’t reached Friday

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Writers on the long-running kids’ show “Sesame Streetvoted to strike if a new contract isn’t reached by Friday.

The Writers Guild of America East (WGAE) said 35 writers on the program “unanimously, with 100% participation” agreed to walk off the job should management fail to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement that’s been in negotiations since Feb. 13.

“The writers are demanding industry standard annual raises, improvements to residuals, and union coverage for Sesame Workshop’s popular animation and social media segments,” the guild said in a statement released Tuesday.

Picketing is slated to begin next Wednesday outside Sesame Workshop’s office on Manhattan’s Upper West Side should negotiators fail to come to terms.

“No one wants to see a picket line on Sesame Street,” according to WGAE President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. “Millions of parents and families around the world are going to have a lot of questions.”

One of those questions, according to Cullen is why “Sesame Street” bosses aren’t demonstrating the “kindness and fairness” the show encourages.

The union claims its writers in animation don’t enjoy basic benefits including healthcare and pensions.

‘S’ is for solidarity,” the guild posted on social media.

“Sesame Street” hit the airwaves in November 1969. It has since recorded more than 4,600 episodes and is seen in 150 counties. In addition to entertaining children with iconic characters like Big Bird and Cookie Monster, the PBS program educates viewers on topics including the health benefits of vaccines and coping with grief.

Sesame Workshop said in a statement they hope a deal is quickly worked out to resolve the matter.

“Our writers are integral members of our creative team, and we are engaged in good faith negotiations with the WGA,” a representative said. “We’re still hopeful that we’ll come to an agreement in advance of the expiration.”

A WGAE spokesperson confirmed the Friday strike deadline and said production will be wrapped on the upcoming season of “Sesame Street.” However, no writing will be done on future episodes, social media or Sesame Workshop programs without a new agreement in place.