LOS ANGELES (AP) – Television and movie screen writers said Thursday they would go on strike for the first time in nearly 20 years in a dispute over royalties.

Four writers told The Associated Press that Writers Guild of America President Patric Verrone made the announcement in a closed-door session, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.

“There was a unified feeling in the room. I don’t think anyone wants the strike, but people are behind the negotiation committee,” writer Dave Garrett said.

Garrett and the other writers said the guild planned to tell writers this afternoon when the strike would begin.

Nick Counter, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, said in a statement the alliance was not surprised by the action.

“We are ready to meet and are prepared to close this contract this weekend,” he said.

Officials had called a meeting of the union’s 12,000 members for Thursday night.

Guild members recently authorized their negotiators to call the first strike since 1988, if necessary.


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