148-Day Writers’ Strike Ends: Here’s The 16 Key Changes in the New Deal

writers' strike ends

The 148-day-long Hollywood writers’ strike is set to conclude shortly after 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday, thanks to a groundbreaking three-year agreement reached between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major Hollywood studios.

Union members, eager to get back to work, now await the contract’s ratification, a pivotal step in resuming normalcy in the industry.

The WGA negotiating committee released a statement on Tuesday, expressing their excitement to share the details of this remarkable deal, one that promises gains and safeguards for members across all sectors of the entertainment business.

Here is a summary of the key components of the 2023 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA). For full details (click here):

1. Term of Agreement

The agreement is set to be in effect from September 25, 2023, through May 1, 2026.

2. Minimums Increases

Most minimum wages will see a 5% increase upon ratification of the contract, followed by 4% on May 2, 2024, and 3.5% on May 2, 2025. Some exceptions apply, with certain rates increasing differently based on established industry patterns.

3. Increased Health and Pension Contribution Rate

The Health Fund contribution will increase by 0.5% in the second year of the agreement, reaching 12%. Additionally, the Guild has the option to divert an additional 0.5% in the second and third years of the contract towards either the Health Fund or Pension Plan.

4. Increased Health and Pension Contributions for Writing Teams

Writers on writing teams for scripts will receive pension and health contributions up to the relevant cap as if they were a single writer. When a writing team is employed on a series, the contribution for each writer on the team will be based on the full weekly minimum.

5. Artificial Intelligence

Regulations for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in MBA-covered projects have been established. These guidelines are designed to ensure that AI does not encroach on the creative domain of writers. Firstly, AI is explicitly prohibited from independently generating or altering literary material. Any content generated by AI will not be considered source material under the MBA, thereby safeguarding the rights and credits of writers. Additionally, writers have the option to incorporate AI into their writing services, provided they obtain company consent and adhere to company policies. Crucially, companies cannot mandate the use of AI software, respecting the writers’ creative autonomy. Furthermore, companies are required to disclose the presence of AI-generated materials to writers. Lastly, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) retains the right to assert that exploiting writers’ work for AI training purposes is prohibited under the MBA or other applicable legal frameworks, ensuring the protection of writers’ rights in the age of AI.

6. Improved Terms for Screenwriter Employment

Guaranteed second step for certain scenarios, accelerated payment structure for flat deals, and increased compensation for streaming features are part of the deal.

7. Improved Terms in High Budget Subscription Video on Demand (HBSVOD)

This includes increased foreign streaming residuals, a bonus based on viewership, and streaming data transparency.

8. Minimum Terms for Advertising-Supported Streaming (AVOD)

High-budget programs made for ad-supported streaming services will have initial compensation terms similar to subscription streaming services, along with span protections.

9. Increased Compensation for Series Employment: Weekly Pay and Staff Writer Script Fees

Various changes in compensation for staff writers, writer-producers, and development room premiums.

10. Staffing and Duration Provisions for Episodic Series

Requirements regarding the minimum number of writers and their employment duration in development rooms and regular writers’ rooms.

11. Improved Options, Exclusivity, and Span Protections

Changes to salary limits under which options and exclusivity protections apply, as well as expanded span protections.

12. Appendix A Series Made for Subscription Streaming Services

Compensation details for specific types of programs made for subscription streaming services.

13. Showrunner Training Program

Renewal of funding for the Showrunner Training Program.

14. Additional Arbitrators

Replacement of three arbitrators on the panel to hear MBA claims in Los Angeles.

15. Tri-Guild Audit Program

Renewal of funding for Tri-Guild auditing of residuals payments for the term of the agreement.

16. Other Changes (Company Proposals)

Various other changes, including adjustments to episodes for promotional runs, exhibition of longform programs in theaters, residual thresholds, and more.

Please note that this summary is for informational purposes and does not replace the full text of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), which contains all the negotiated deal points in contract language. For more information, click here.

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