The shareholders of Netflix on Thursday rejected the new pay packages of the company's leadership, including co-chief executives Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters. Earlier, the board had unanimously recommended the pay packages. The vote is non-binding and can be overruled by the board the next time it meets.
The decision came after the Writers Guild of America sent a letter to the public urging the shareholders of Netflix to reject the new compensation plans. Under the new plan, Sarandos was to get $40 million through a combination of base salary, bonus and stock options. Peters was set to receive $34.6 million in total.
In the letter, the Writers' Guild said that if the platform was willing to pay its executives this much, they must also pay the writers "what they're worth". It added that the higher pay to writers would cost around $68 million annually.
The writer's strike has now entered the fifth week.
According to a report by Reuters, the union has made executive compensation for Hollywood executives an issue in negotiation. Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav ranked in the top 10 of Equilar's 2022 study of the largest pay packages awarded to chief executives of publicly traded companies.
The union has been applying pressure on media companies to coax them back to the bargaining table. Contract talks ended on May 1 after they reached an impasse over improved pay and residuals and changes in working conditions. The use of artificial intelligence is another stumbling block.
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, representing streamers like Netflix and the studios in negotiations, is currently in talks with the Directors Guild, whose current contract expires on June 30. Talks begin on June 7 with SAG-AFTRA, which represents actors.