THE BIG PICTURE
In an impressive turn of events, the five-month standoff between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has reached a positive conclusion. While the deal awaits ratification, the cessation of picketing indicates fruitful negotiations. The WGA’s leadership is set to vote on the final agreement next Tuesday.
The latest contract can be described as exceptional, offering substantial benefits and safeguards for writers across all sectors. The WGA acknowledges the remarkable power and solidarity demonstrated by its members throughout the 146-day strike.
After five months of intense negotiations, the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have finally come to a resolution, following a high-profile meeting involving the WGA’s chief negotiating team, the head of the AMPTP, and key studio executives. As previously reported by Deadline, this crucial meeting took place on a Wednesday, and both parties issued a joint statement confirming their engagement in negotiations that day, with plans to reconvene for further discussions on Thursday.
The Wednesday meeting featured prominent industry figures, including Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and Universal’s Chief Content Officer Donna Langley. They joined forces with the WGA’s chief negotiator and the President of the AMPTP.
Negotiations continued over the weekend, proving successful, with the only remaining hurdle being the finalization of contract language. While the deal still requires ratification, picketing has been temporarily suspended as of Sunday evening. The WGA’s leadership anticipates voting on the final agreement next Tuesday. The process will involve the negotiating committee’s vote, followed by the participation of both WGA East and WGA West, culminating in the full participation of the 11,000+ WGA members. Below is a statement from the WGA addressed to its members:
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 final contract language.
What we have won in this contract – most particularly, 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 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. 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.
IN SOLIDARITY, WGA NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE
What’s Next For the WGA and SAG-AFTRA?
The WGA initiated the strike in May, prompted by a deadlock in negotiations over various issues, including compensation, residual payments for long-running projects, minimum staffing of writers’ rooms, and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in content creation, among other significant concerns.
The next challenge for the AMPTP and the studios involves addressing similar issues with SAG-AFTRA, the acting branch of Hollywood, which has halted work due to similar grievances as the writers. SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since mid-July, and as of now, no negotiations have begun, nor has a negotiation date been set. SAG-AFTRA has also released a statement congratulating the WGA, which you can find below:
“SAG-AFTRA congratulates the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency, and solidarity on the picket lines. While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members. Since the day the WGA strike began, SAG-AFTRA members have stood alongside the writers on the picket lines. We remain on strike in our TV/Theatrical contract and continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood labor negotiations
What was the outcome of the WGA-AMPTP negotiations?
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached a tentative agreement after a five-month strike. While it still needs ratification, picketing has ceased, and the final vote is expected soon.
What were the key achievements in the new contract?
The new contract is seen as exceptional, offering substantial gains and protections for writers across all sectors of the industry.
What’s the next step for the WGA and the studios?
The next challenge involves resolving similar issues with SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, which has been on strike since mid-July. Negotiations with SAG-AFTRA are pending.
How did this strike impact Hollywood?
The strike had significant implications for Hollywood, affecting various aspects of the entertainment industry, including compensation, residual payments, staffing of writers’ rooms, and the role of AI in content creation.
What is the timeline for finalizing the WGA-AMPTP agreement?
While the tentative agreement is in place, it still requires ratification. The negotiating committee, WGA East, WGA West, and the full membership will vote on it. Once authorized, the strike will be lifted, allowing writers to return to work during the ratification vote.
How can industry professionals stay informed about developments in this labor dispute?
Industry professionals can stay updated by following official announcements from the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. News outlets covering the entertainment industry will also provide ongoing coverage of these developments.