Hollywood writers, studios reach tentative deal to end strike

Hollywood writers, studios reach tentative deal to end strike
  • PublishedSeptember 25, 2023


More than four-and-a-half months after they first went on strike, Hollywood writers have reached a tentative deal with studios on a new labor contract.

The agreement between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers — the group that represents all major Hollywood studios — was announced Sunday following several marathon bargaining sessions this week in Los Angeles.

Terms of the deal, which were not immediately made public, must still be ratified by the WGA’s approximately 11,000 members.

“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” the WGA negotiating committee said in an email to its members Sunday night. “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.”

Disney CEO Bob Iger and Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos were among several studio chiefs who took part in negotiations Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, according to the Hollywood Reporter, before the AMPTP on Saturday presented the WGA with its newest proposal. 

The two sides then met again on Sunday before the agreement was finalized. 

SAG-AFTRA And WGA Strike Continues
Picketers walk the picket line outside Paramount Studios on September 22, 2023.

David Livingston/Getty Images

Leadership votes on the agreement were tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, the WGA said. After the new contract is agreed to by leadership, the details will be made available to members and a full vote will be scheduled. Leadership must also still vote to officially end the strike.

“To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then,” the negotiating team said Sunday. “But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing.”

The AMPTP will likely now turn its attention to resuming talks with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The approximately 65,000 actors in SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on the picket lines beginning in mid-July, effectively shutting down all scripted production in Hollywood.

It marked the first time the two unions have been on strike simultaneously since 1960, a move which has had a major impact on California’s economy. Film and television production accounts for more than 700,000 jobs and nearly $70 billion a year in wages in the state, according to the California Film Commission.

Issues shared by both unions have included increasing residual payments from streaming services and the use of artificial intelligence.

The writers’ strike, which began May 2, was the first since 2007 for the WGA. At 145 days, it is the second-longest in WGA history behind only the 1988 strike, which lasted 154 days. 

The process has been contentious, with the WGA arguing that the streaming model has threatened the viability of its middle-class writers, leaving many of them unable to make a living due to intermittent and inconsistent work. Most television writers’ rooms have seen staffing cuts, they say, and have shrunk in recent years to what have become known as “mini-rooms.” The issue has also been compounded by shorter seasons that have made it difficult for writers’ to sustain year-round employment. 

In its demand for higher residual payments, the WGA had asked for more transparency in streaming viewership data.

In its counter to allegations that television writing has become “gig” work, the AMPTP — in a rare public statement in the early days of the strike — alleged that “most television writers” receive a guaranteed number of weeks or episodes when they are hired, often get producing credits, and that they also receive “substantial fringe benefits that are far superior to what many full-time employees receive for working an entire year,” including pension contributions and health care. 

Paramount Pictures, one of the studios involved in the negotiations, and CBS News are both part of Paramount Global. Also, some CBS News staff are SAG-AFTRA or Writers Guild members, but their contracts are not affected by the strikes.


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