WGA reaches deal that may end strike
Writers on strike in May. Photo Credit: Marlena Miller

The Writers Guild of America has reached a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that, if accepted by its members, could end the 146-day strike that began in May.

The New York Times reported that a tentative deal was reached between the WGA and the AMPTP on Sunday night, but that it won’t be finalized until the guild’s members vote on it, which is expected to take place on Tuesday, according to Variety.

WGA Cites ‘Meaningful Gains’

“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 members, according to the Times.

The AMPTP was less enthusiastic in its comment to the Times: “The WGA and AMPTP. have reached a tentative agreement.”

The terms of the tentative deal that benefit writers include higher compensation for streaming content, minimum staffing requirements for TV shows, and safeguards against artificial intelligence intruding on writers’ credits and payment for their work.

Although picketing has been suspended as of Sunday night, WGA members won’t be cleared to go back to work until the contract is fully approved.

“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 email to the guild’s 11,000 members said, according to Variety.

Even if the deal is approved, don’t expect Hollywood to come roaring back to life immediately. The SAG-AFTRA strike is still underway as actors demand more pay for streaming content and protection against their likenesses being used by A.I., among other demands.

The actors joined the writers on strike on July 14, when SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher gave an impassioned speech after the guild could not reach a satisfactory deal with the AMPTP during contract renewal negotiations.

“I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. I cannot believe it, quite frankly, how far apart we are on so many things, how they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs. It is disgusting. Shame on them. They stand on the wrong side of history,” Drescher said in the July press conference.

This year was the first time since 1960 that actors and screenwriters had been on strike at the same time.

Explaining their reasons for not reaching an agreement with SAG-AFTRA, the AMPTP wrote in a July press release:

“Member companies entered the negotiations with SAG-AFTRA with the goal of forging a new, mutually beneficial contract. The AMPTP presented a deal that offered historic pay and residual increases, substantially higher caps on pension and health contributions, audition protections, shortened series option periods, and a groundbreaking AI proposal that protects actors’ digital likenesses for SAG-AFTRA members.

“A strike is certainly not the outcome we hoped for as studios cannot operate without the performers that bring our TV shows and films to life. The Union has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry.”

As of late September, there are no upcoming talks between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP scheduled, according to the Times.

Something that sets the actors’ goals apart from the writers’ goals is that the actors are asking for 2 percent of the total revenue generated by streaming shows, which the studios have said is out of the question, the Times adds.

Main image: Writers strike outside of Hollywood studios over the summer.