Writers Guild Strike Comes to an End: Tentative Agreement Reached with Studios and Streamers

It’s official: after nearly five months, the Writers Guild’s strike is finally coming to an end. At 12:01 am on Wednesday, the strike will be over, and writers can resume their work. The guild announced today that their Negotiating Committee, WGAW Board, and WGAE Council have all voted unanimously to recommend the agreement that has been worked out with the studios and streamers. The agreement will now go to both Guilds’ memberships for a ratification vote, which will take place from October 2nd to October 9th. Let’s take a closer look at the details of this long-awaited agreement.

According to the Writers Guild, the term of the agreement is from September 25, 2023, through May 1, 2026. Scribes can return to work during the ratification process, but in the unlikely event that members reject the tentative agreement, the strike could start again. This strike has already lasted 148 days, just a few days short of the guild’s longest strike in 1988 that lasted 153 days.

In terms of minimum salaries, the Writers Guild achieved the same pay raises that the Directors Guild received without going on strike. The Directors Guild secured annual pay raises of 5%, 4%, and 3.5% over their contract’s life, amounting to a compounded increase of 13% over three years. The Writers Guild also managed to secure a 5%, 4%, and 3.5% increase in minimums and rates, which they showcase as a substantial achievement. However, the fine print reveals that some rates increase less, primarily by 3% each year, and a few rates do not increase at all. These exceptions were apparently influenced by the industry’s established patterns.

The Writers Guild had initially asked for higher pay increases of 6%, 5%, and 5%, amounting to a compounded increase of 16.87% over three years. However, the AMPTP’s offer just before the strike began was considerably lower, at 4%, 3%, and 2%, equaling a compounded increase of 9.26% over the same period. Eventually, the AMPTP raised its offer to match what the Directors Guild had received, resulting in the agreement that the Writers Guild has now reached.

The Negotiating Committee emphasized the significance of this contract, stating that it includes substantial gains and protections for writers in all sectors of the membership. The key strike issues that were successfully addressed in this agreement include wages, streaming residuals, protections against the misuse of Artificial Intelligence, and minimum staffing and employment duration in TV writers’ rooms. The Negotiating Committee attributed these achievements to the willingness of the membership to exercise its power, exhibit solidarity, and endure the pain and uncertainty that came with the strike. They acknowledged that the leverage generated by the strike and the support of fellow union members were crucial in bringing the companies back to the negotiation table.

Before the Board and Council votes, the guild and the AMPTP finalized their Memorandum of Agreement, which outlines all the deal’s specific points. The WGA Negotiating Committee then voted to recommend the agreement to the Board and Council for their approval. As part of the process, the Board and Council also voted unanimously to lift a restraining order, allowing the strike to end at a designated date and time. This lifting of the restraining order will enable writers to return to work during the ratification vote without affecting their right to make a final determination on contract approval.

In an effort to inform and engage its members, the Writers Guild is organizing member meetings where the Negotiating Committee, Board, and Council will discuss the agreement and answer any questions before the ratification vote. Meetings will be held in New York City and Los Angeles, and there will also be Zoom meetings available for those unable to attend in person. The guild encourages members to attend these meetings in order to celebrate the strike’s accomplishments and delve into the details of the agreement.

As the tentative agreement now heads to the guilds’ members for final ratification, there is a sense of optimism and relief within the writing community. Although the specific details of the agreement have not been made public yet, the guild’s Negotiating Committee assures its members that this deal is exceptional, delivering key gains and protections for writers in all areas of the industry. The end of the strike marks a triumph for the writers’ solidarity and perseverance throughout this challenging battle.

The long and arduous Writers Guild strike has finally come to a close with a tentative agreement between the guild and the studios and streamers. The Writers Guild successfully secured significant pay increases and key protections for its members. The ratification process will allow members to have the final say on whether to approve the agreement or not. For now, writers can look forward to returning to work and focusing on their craft once again.

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