Confronted with a growing budget deficit, the Writers Guild of America, West plans to cut about 20 positions by the end of the month.
The guild, which has about 185 employees, notified worker representatives last week that layoffs, which could begin this week, were needed to plug a budget hole of more than $2 million, said two people familiar with the matter. The union, which has 8,000 members, has annual operating expenses of about $25 million.
David Young, the union's executive director, recently told the guild's board that he was considering job cuts to close a budget shortfall, which guild officials have largely blamed on investment losses caused by the stock market decline and a sharp falloff in jobs and work for writers during the last year.
A guild representative declined to comment.
The layoffs can be directly tied to the tough times for Hollywood writers.
As scripted shows went dark during the 100-day writers strike last year, television networks beefed up production of reality programs -- which typically don't use union writers -- to fill the airwaves. That continued after the strike ended in February, creating fewer opportunities for writers. Some scripted shows didn't come back, while others returned with fewer episodes.