A collective sigh of relief sweeps through Hollywood as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and major studios tentatively seal a new three-year contract, potentially marking the conclusion of a 146-day strike that has left its mark on Hollywood.
Negotiators from the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) concluded their discussions after five consecutive days of negotiations. The strike had been particularly challenging, with complex negotiations that included language around the use of generative AI in content production.
While the strike will remain in force during the guild’s contract approval and ratification process, picketing has been suspended. Guild leaders are expected to vote on whether to formally lift the strike order against AMPTP signatories on Tuesday.
Details of the contract agreement will be released once the final language is completed in the coming days. WGA leadership expects to vote on the final pact, with a subsequent vote by the board of the WGA West and council of WGA East, followed by ratification by WGA’s 11,000 members.
The strike began on May 2 and gained momentum as members demonstrated solidarity through picketing and strike operations. The negotiating committee credited the strike’s leverage and support from other unions for bringing the studios back to the negotiating table.
SAG-AFTRA, which has been on strike since July 14, congratulated the WGA on its progress and expressed a commitment to achieving favorable terms for its members.
The Directors Guild of America had previously reached a three-year deal in May and also praised the WGA’s efforts.
The WGA achieved several key priorities in the contract, including a minimum guaranteed staff level for episodic TV and a new-model streaming residual formula. This formula includes a bonus system based on performance benchmarks for individual titles.
The end of the WGA strike is expected to lead to the conclusion of SAG-AFTRA’s strike and a return to normal production cycles in the entertainment industry.
Hollywood is eager to get back to work, but after the long pause in production, it will take time to resume full-scale production and distribution activities.
Negotiations resumed on September 20, with the involvement of key Hollywood leaders, including Disney’s Bob Iger, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery.
The strike had a significant impact on California’s economy, affecting more than 700,000 jobs and nearly $70 billion a year in wages in the state’s film and television production industry.
Issues such as increasing residual payments from streaming services and the use of artificial intelligence were shared concerns for both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
The WGA strike, which began on May 2, was the first since 2007 and became the second-longest strike in WGA history. The strike highlighted issues related to the changing landscape of television writing, with shorter seasons and concerns about sustainability for writers.
In their demand for higher residual payments, the WGA also sought more transparency in streaming viewership data. The AMPTP countered these claims, stating that most television writers receive guaranteed weeks or episodes, producing credits, and substantial fringe benefits.
Overall, the tentative agreement marks a significant development in the entertainment industry, bringing an end to a lengthy and impactful strike.
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