What a Success! After a challenging 146 days on the picket line, the Writers Guild of America has reached a tentative Agreement with The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers.
Flash back five months ago, Hollywood stood as a ghost town. Sag-Afra and the WGA constructed a very bold move to protest against the AMPTP fighting for fair compensation and the use of generative AI. Primetime television became dependent on reruns, sports events, and game shows to fill airtime.
Talk show host, Drew Barrymore even made headlines after attempting to move forward with her show without her writers. That did not end very well resulting in some serious backlash from her fellow writers and some fans. Negotiations came to a stretching halt on August 22 and did not resume until September 20, 2023. Variety.com reports that executives from four major companies Disney, Netflix, NBC Universal, and Warner Bros. Discovery participated in three days of negotiations.
The 5-month strike took a toll on Hollywood and its creatives. According to Latimes.com, Todd Holmes, Addressed the rapid decline in economic stability within California. In addition, California has lost approximately 5 Billion in “economic damages.” Holmes estimates an increase of 6 Billion in damages by October if the strike continues.
The amount of sacrifice writers and actors alike endured during the strike created extreme hardships. For a lot of creatives, homelessness, losing health insurance, and having to move were the only options available. However, WGA came out on the other side triumphant.
A Long Time Coming
On August 24, 2023, a historic 3-year tentative agreement was reached between WGA and AMPTP. The WGA announced on Sunday evening that they would be pausing their protest immediately.
Variety states that “ both sides have compromised” by putting into place a formulated scale that will adjust “depending on the number of episodes produced per season.” This resolution will shift the “minimum staffing issue” for the better. However, there are no specific details regarding the contractual agreement. The two parties are in the process of finalizing it’s verbal language.
Many are excited about the news as it gives hope that Hollywood will soon be back up and thriving. There are approximately 11,000 WGA union members who are looking forward to returning to the workplace.
The strike signifies a monumental change in infrastructure for Hollywood. This shows that they have put in a great deal of effort to protect the creative’s intellectual property. Thus, writers will be able to maintain a comfortable living wage. Streaming has changed the way money flows within the industry and it was time for a change.
It’s Not Over Yet
“Though both parties have reached a tentative agreement, this does not mean writers should resume working on set. Chris Keyser and David Goodman, co-chairs of WGA’s negotiating committee, released a formal letter detailing the logistics. WGA clarified that “no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild.”
The negotiating committee is currently in deliberation and will determine whether or not the agreement will go in front of the WGA West Council and East Council. Following this, WGA members will be able to cast their votes.
Until then, all members are instructed to cease picketing but encourage members to join SAG-Aftra picket lines. As Sag-Aftra continues its fight for fair wages and more, we are far from over. Sag-Aftra congratulates WGA on their contractual agreement and is eager to renegotiate with AMPTP. This is one step in the right direction. Hopefully, SAG-Aftra is not too far behind.
Release Statement From WGA’s Negotiating Comittee:
We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting the final contract language.
What we have won in this contract—most notably, 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. 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.
We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional—with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.
What remains now is for our staff to ensure everything we have agreed to is codified in the 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. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again—one last time.
Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.
If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval.
Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification.
To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. 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.
Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us—and had to fend off rumors—during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes. “
As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.
WGA Negotiating Committee