Striking screen and television writers voted overwhelmingly to sign independent contracts with 70 production companies, the first break in the 3-month-old nationwide walkout, union officials announced Friday.

Eighty-six percent of 2,016 striking writers who cast their vote Thursday night in Los Angeles and New York favored the independent contracts, Writers Guild of America spokeswoman Cheryl Rhoden said.

Approval of the contracts means the 70 companies "can all go back to work today," Rhoden said.