Illustration/Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
A historic labor battle in Hollywood will soon end.
The 148-day writers’ strike, the second-longest in the history of the Writers Guild of America, will end at 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday thanks to a vote by union leadership that officially allowed about 11,500 members to return to work. Tasks that had been prohibited for months under strike rules — promoting, selling scripts, holding meetings, responding to feedback — will then be sanctioned, while writers’ rooms can get back to work.
“This allows writers to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the members’ right to make a final decision on whether to approve the contract,” the WGA negotiating committee said.
The studios, represented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and the union finally announced a tentative agreement on a new three-year contract Sunday night after a full weekend of working on the deal. After about a month of stalled talks, progress accelerated starting on September 20, when the two sides returned to the negotiating table at AMPTP’s Sherman Oaks headquarters with top industry leaders (Disney’s Bob Iger, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and Warner Bros.). Discovery’s David Zaslav and Donna Langley from NBCUniversal). With senior leaders in the room, studios have made changes to their stance on issues like minimum staffing in TV writers’ rooms and rewarding writers for the success of projects on streaming. Regulations surrounding artificial intelligence have proven to be a perennial point of contention, but the two sides eventually reached a compromise by Sunday night. In its letter to members about the agreement on Sunday, the WGA called the resulting agreement “extraordinary.”
On Tuesday, the WGA West Board of Directors and the WGA East Board approved the deal, which initiated voting to end the restraining order against AMPTP member companies.
The news puts an end to the historic labor standoff in entertainment: SAG-AFTRA remains on strike, and neither that union nor AMPTP has announced any new bargaining dates for the parties yet. The two sides remain deadlocked over the issues of general wage increases, the proposal to give union members a portion of the platform’s subscriber revenues when their streaming projects succeed, and regulations related to artificial intelligence, among other issues. Even with the writers back at work, production cannot resume in any meaningful way without key artists.
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