The writers and studios in Hollywood have a tentative labor agreement that would put an end to the continuing writers’ strike after nearly 150 days.
After months of starts and stops, negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers finally began last week, eventually resulting to a tentative agreement. The final contract text is still being drafted by the WGA and AMPTP.
“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,” the WGA negotiation committee wrote in a letter to members Sunday night.
“It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal.”
At issue was how writers are compensated in an industry where streaming has changed the rules of Hollywood economics. Writers say they aren’t being paid enough, TV writer rooms have shrunk too much and the old calculus for how residuals are paid out needs to be redrawn.
Unclear what Hollywood’s writers won from the strike
The WGA did not disclose what provisions ultimately made it into the preliminary contract, but told union members that “this deal is exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”
Once the WGA and AMPTP agree on the language within the contract, the negotiating committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it to the Writers Guild of America West Board and the Writers Guild of America East Council for approval.
Then, the board and council will vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by membership.
Actors remain on strike
While the writers appear close to a deal, actors remain on strike. It’s the first strike for actors from film and television shows since 1980. It’s the first time two major Hollywood unions have been on strike at the same time since 1960 when Ronald Reagan was the actors’ guild president.
Actors, represented by the 160,000-strong SAG-AFTRA performers’ union, walked out in July over their own dispute over pay and the use of AI in the film and television industries.
After the writers announced their possible deal, the actors’ union congratulated them on the outcome and praised their “146 days of incredible strength, resiliency and solidarity”.
It goes on to confirm their strike remains in place, urging studios, streaming firms and other industry bosses to “return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand”.
This ongoing strike action means an immediate return for many TV and movies is not yet on the cards, even if the writers do resolve their own dispute imminently.