WGA members carrying a banner
Striking WGA members marching in Los Angeles with signs and banners (Photo: UFCW 770)

Things are look­ing up in Hol­ly­wood tonight!

From the Writ­ers Guild of Amer­i­ca, here is the word on the out­come of today’s nego­ti­a­tions with the Alliance of Motion Pic­ture and Tele­vi­sion Producers:

Dear 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.

NPI con­grat­u­lates the WGA (WGAW and WGAE) on reach­ing an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple with the stu­dios that will hope­ful­ly ensure the future of the writ­ing pro­fes­sion in the enter­tain­ment indus­try. With few details to scru­ti­nize at this time, we don’t have much to go on, but it does sound promising.

The Los Ange­les Times report­ed that the accord “would boost pay rates and resid­ual pay­ments for stream­ing shows and impose new rules sur­round­ing the use of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence.” It took four long days of nego­ti­a­tions to ham­mer out the agree­ment in prin­ci­ple, which saw per­son­al involve­ment from stu­dio chiefs.

“Day 4 on Sat­ur­day most­ly involved lawyers for the guild and AMPTP hash­ing out the fine print of lan­guage around com­pli­cat­ed and ground­break­ing addi­tions to the WGA’s Min­i­mum Basic Agree­ment,” Vari­ety report­ed. “The nit­ty-grit­ty details of lan­guage around the use of gen­er­a­tive AI in con­tent pro­duc­tion was one of the last items that the sides worked on before clos­ing the pact.

This news undoubt­ed­ly comes as a relief to a lot of peo­ple in show­biz, espe­cial­ly in the Los Ange­les and New York met­ro­pol­i­tan areas. How­ev­er, before Hol­ly­wood can get back to nor­mal busi­ness, the stu­dios will also need to reach an accord with the actors, who remain on strike, as the WGA point­ed out.

“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,” said the actors’ union in a state­ment. “While we look for­ward to review­ing the WGA and AMPTP’s ten­ta­tive agree­ment, we remain com­mit­ted to achiev­ing the nec­es­sary terms for our mem­bers,” the mes­sage went on to say.

“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.”

“Though still ten­ta­tive in nature, the agree­ment is a momen­tous devel­op­ment for an indus­try that has been hob­bled by the dou­ble WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, the first time both have occurred at once in over six­ty years,” The Hol­ly­wood Reporter point­ed out in its sto­ry on the reach­ing of the agree­ment.

“The WGA strike had an imme­di­ate impact: Film­ing in Los Ange­les declined 29 per­cent between April and June 2023 com­pared with the same peri­od last year as the writ­ers’ work stop­page began May 2, local office Film­LA report­ed on April 19. A wide array of major projects were halt­ed in their tracks and/or post­poned, includ­ing Netflix’s Stranger Things, Apple TV+’s Loot, Marvel’s Blade 2 and Thun­der­bolts and oth­ers. When SAG-AFTRA joined the stop­page, a num­ber of addi­tion­al projects includ­ing Ven­om 3, Glad­i­a­tor 2 and Dead­pool 3 fol­lowed.”

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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