Nearly five months after its strike started, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has reached a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the organisation representing studios, streaming companies and producers.
On May 2 this year, the WGA, representing the people who write films, TV shows, talk-show segments and more, started the strike demanding better pay and working conditions. Among its requests were the regulation of the use of artificial intelligence, living wages, and earning residuals from streaming services.
Many LGBTQ+ industry professionals also joined the strike, with over 200 writers and allies staging a “Trans Takeover” on May 18 to highlight the lack of employment opportunities for trans and non-binary writers in the US film and TV sector.
Finally, more than 146 days after the strike began, the WGA announced that it has reached a “tentative” deal with the studios. In an email sent to its members on September 24, it wrote: “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”
This deal comes after negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP, which had been on and off during the strike, resumed on September 20. This time, the meetings included CEOs of major corporations, such as Bob Iger from Disney, Ted Sarandos from Netflix, Donna Langley from NBCUniversal and David Zaslav from Warner Bros. Discovery. During the strike, the CEOs had been reluctant to give in to the writers’ demands, with Iger calling the strike “disturbing” and stating that the expectations were unrealistic.
The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement. This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who stood with us for over 146 days. More details coming after contract language is finalized. #WGAStrike pic.twitter.com/GBg2wZBwGB
— Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) September 25, 2023
The deal will now have to be voted on by the board of WGA West and the council of WGA East and, if approved, it will go out to the guild’s 11,000 members. “What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted,” wrote the WGA in a statement.
While picketing is now suspended, the guild stated that the strike is not completely over yet. “To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild,” its message said. “We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.”
The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), who joined the writers in starting their own strike on July 14, have not yet secured a deal and are still striking. Over 150,000 actors joined the movement, but there have been no talks about resuming negotiations with the studios yet.
Hollywood writers expressed joy, exhaustion and gratitude Sunday night after the #WGA and the #AMPTP finally reached a tentative agreement that would end the #writersstrike. Read more: https://t.co/2EgRTja5Ii
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) September 25, 2023
Commenting on the deal reached by the WGA, the organisation wrote: “SAG-AFTRA congratulates the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency, and solidarity on the picket lines. While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members.
“Since the day the WGA strike began, SAG-AFTRA members have stood alongside the writers on the picket lines,” the statement read. “We remain on strike in our TV/Theatrical contract and continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand.”
The strikes and the studios’ reluctance to budge on the writers’ and actors’ requests have impacted several shows and caused delays in their production. Among the titles that are rumoured to face lengthy delays are shows with LGBTQ+ representation, such as Euphoria, Stranger Things, Neil Patrick-Harris’ Uncoupled, and many more.
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