The Big Picture
- The five-month stand-off between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has ended successfully.
- The deal still needs to be ratified, but picketing has been deferred as negotiations have been fruitful. The WGA leadership expects to vote on the final deal on Tuesday.
- This new contract is seen as exceptional, with significant gains and protections for writers in all sectors. The WGA acknowledges the power and solidarity demonstrated by its members during the 146-day strike.
The five-month stand-off between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers has come to an end, following successful bargaining after a big-name meeting between the WGA’s chief negotiating team, the head of the AMPTP and major studio heads. As previously covered by Deadline, a meeting took place on Wednesday between the WGA and the AMPTP. In a joint statement, both parties confirmed that they had engaged in bargaining that day and planned to reconvene for further discussions on Thursday.
The meeting held on Wednesday allegedly featured notable executives, including Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and Universal’s Chief Content Officer Donna Langley. They were joined by the WGA’s chief negotiator and the President of the AMPTP.
Negotiations have continued through the weekend and those talks have been successful, barring any issues with the final contract language. The deal still needs to be ratified, but picketing has been deferred as of Sunday evening. The WGA leadership expects to vote on the final deal on Tuesday. The negotiating committee will vote, followed by WGA East and WGA West, and finally the full 11,000+ members of the WGA. You can read a statement from the WGA to its members below.
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 went on strike in May after negotiations reached an impasse over issues as varied as compensation, residual payments for long-running projects, minimum staffing of writers’ rooms, and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the creation of work, among other notable problems.
The next step for the AMPTP and the studios is to resolve the issues with SAG-AFTRA, the acting branch of Hollywood which has suspended work over similar issues to those of the writers. SAG-AFTRA has been on strike since mid-July, and as of yet, no bargaining has begun nor has any date been set for negotiating to begin. SAG-AFTRA also released a statement congratulating the WGA which you can read 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.”