WGA and Hollywood Studios Reach Tentative Deal To End Writers Strike

Members of WGA walk with pickets on strike outside the Culver Studio, Tuesday May 2, 2023 in Culver City, California. (Ringo Chiu / Shutterstock)

Members of WGA walk with pickets on strike outside the Culver Studio, Tuesday May 2, 2023 in Culver City, California. (Ringo Chiu / Shutterstock)

WGA and AMPTP Reach Preliminary Accord, Ending Writers Strike.

After an arduous five-month standoff, the Writers Guild has struck a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), heralding the end of their strike. This pivotal breakthrough emerged on Sunday as both parties resolved their impasse concerning AI implementation and staffing levels in writing rooms.

In a joint statement, the WGA and AMPTP announced, "We have reached a tentative agreement." Subsequently, the WGA conveyed to its members that they've achieved a preliminary understanding of the 2023 Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA), signifying alignment on all essential deal points, pending the finalization of contract language. This announcement arrived shortly after sunset, coinciding with the commencement of the Yom Kippur holiday, which had been identified as a significant deadline for concluding negotiations after five days of intensive talks.

While the specific terms of the WGA's preliminary agreement have not been disclosed, the guild intends to share them with its membership before the ratification votes.

The following procedural phase involves the WGA negotiating committee, led by Ellen Stutzman, casting a vote on whether to endorse the agreement and pass it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. These votes are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. Subsequently, pending approval from the respective boards and councils, the "restraining order" on strike may be lifted, enabling writers to resume work during the ratification vote—a significant development for both the WGA and the studios. In the interim, the WGA has informed its members that the strike is still active, but all picketing activities are now suspended.

The negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP commenced virtually in the mid-afternoon. In addition to refining matters related to AI and staffing, an ongoing point of contention revolved around post-strike return-to-work schedules and protocols.

The studios sought clarity on whether writers would promptly resume their duties once a tentative agreement was ratified. Per our understanding, the guild had requested its members to return when SAG-AFTRA secured a new deal with the AMPTP. This reflects the solidarity between the two unions that has characterized their first concurrent strike since 1960. A compromise was reached.

The strike's official conclusion will require a few days as both WGA West and WGA East proceed with their ratification process. During the WGA's previous strike in 2007-08, a tentative agreement was reached on the 96th day, with the strike officially concluding on the 100th.

The first casualties of the current WGA strike, late-night comedy shows, and daytime talk shows will swiftly return to the airwaves, as SAG-AFTRA's ongoing strike doesn't encompass them as affected productions. Films and scripted TV shows that did not secure Interim Agreements with SAG-AFTRA will remain hiatus until the strike's resolution.

All eyes are now on ratifying the WGA deal and encouraging SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP to resume negotiations and resolve the actors' strike, which has lasted for 73 days.

While this breakthrough relieves Hollywood and the entertainment industry, economists estimate that the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have incurred a roughly $5 billion economic toll on California.

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