The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has announced that the long, painstaking writer’s strike that brought Hollywood to a halt will finally come to an end on Wednesday, September 27. The WGA’s West and East councils voted to end the strike after reaching a three-year minimum basic agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). Additional details on the agreement have not been reported at this time. The WGA informed their members that full details of the agreement will be provided once it is put into final contract language, vetted fully, and approved by WGA leaders.
The deal was announced by the WGA on Sunday night after five days of meetings with the AMPTP leaders. WGA members authored a message to union members stating that “What we have won in this contract, most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd, is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days.” Despite no specifics of the agreement being available,” the message continued, “We can say with great pride that this deal is exceptional, with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”
While the details are unsure, the union has been unwavering in its drive for protections against the use of artificial intelligence (AI) that could ultimately destabilize writers’ jobs. Furthermore, the union has called for boosts in salaries and residual pay, including higher pay based on the success of individual streaming programs and mandatory staffing levels on productions. The strike initially began on May 2, and the WGA was joined in their efforts by the SAG-AFTRA actors union in July.
President Joe Biden spoke on the agreement on Monday morning, saying, “That will allow writers to return to the important work of telling the stories of our nation, our world, and of all of us.” Biden said he applauded both sides for reaching a tentative deal and released a statement saying, “This agreement, including assurances related to artificial intelligence, did not come easily.” He added, “But its formation is a testament to the power of collective bargaining. There simply is no substitute for employers and employees coming together to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement that makes business stronger and secures the pay, benefits, and dignity that workers deserve. I urge all employers to remember that all workers — including writers, actors, and autoworkers — deserve a fair share of the value their labor helped create”
The AMPTP avoided a strike by the Directors Guild of America after reaching an agreement, and with the WGA attaining a proposed deal, the focus is projected to turn to the SAG-AFTRA. No known talks have been reported between the AMPTP and the actors’ union.
It’s unclear exactly what led to the current negotiations. However, a dispute that erupted in mid-August concerning who should speak for the studios seemed to open the door. Starting last Wednesday, the two sides got back together in meetings believed to have been attended by Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros/Discovery’s David Zaslav, and Universal’s Donna Langley. Nevertheless, it is uncertain whether or not all four of those executives were in attendance for all sessions that finished on Sunday.