After 146 days of picketing, protesting, and negotiating, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have finally reached a tentative agreement to end the longest writers’ strike in Hollywood history. The deal, which was announced on Sunday night, will need to be ratified by the WGA members before it takes effect.
The Terms of the Deal
The details of the deal have not been officially released yet, but according to sources, the agreement includes significant gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership. Some of the key issues that were resolved include:
- A fair share of profits from streaming services, which have expanded rapidly since the last contract dispute in 2007. The WGA demanded that writers receive residuals and royalties from streaming platforms, as well as minimum rates and span protections for writers working on streaming shows.
- A limit on the use of artificial intelligence in creative content, which was a major concern for writers who feared that their jobs could be replaced by algorithms and bots. The WGA insisted that writers should have the right to approve or reject any AI-generated content that uses their work, and that they should be compensated for any such use.
- A better health care plan and pension fund for writers, who have faced rising costs and reduced benefits in recent years. The WGA sought to increase employer contributions to the health and pension plans, as well as to improve coverage and eligibility for writers and their families.
The Impact of the Strike
The strike, which began on May 2, 2023, after the WGA and AMPTP failed to reach a new three-year contract, affected thousands of writers, actors, producers, directors, and crew members in the entertainment industry. The strike halted the production of many film and television projects, disrupted the schedules of late-night shows and award ceremonies, and caused millions of dollars in losses for studios and networks.
The strike also sparked a wave of solidarity and support from other unions, celebrities, politicians, and fans, who joined the writers on the picket lines, donated food and money, and voiced their opinions on social media. The strike also highlighted the changing landscape of the entertainment industry in the digital age, and the challenges and opportunities that writers face in creating original and diverse content for various platforms.
The Next Steps
The tentative agreement will now be presented to the WGA East and WGA West boards for approval, which is expected to take place on Tuesday. If approved, the deal will then be sent to the WGA members for ratification, which could take several days or weeks. In the meantime, the WGA has suspended all picketing and strike activities until further notice.
The end of the writers’ strike does not mean that Hollywood is back to normal yet. The actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, which joined the strike in July in a historic “double strike”, is still in negotiations with the AMPTP over similar issues. Until both unions reach a deal with the studios, many film and television projects will remain on hold or delayed.