On Sunday, the Hollywood writers union and major studios came to a preliminary labour agreement. This agreement is anticipated to put an end to one of the two strikes that have halted the majority of film and television production and cost the Californian economy billions.
Before going into effect, the three-year deal still has to be ratified by both union members and the WGA’s leadership.
11,500 film and television writers are covered by the WGA, which called the agreement “exceptional” and with “meaningful gains and protections for writers.”
“This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who joined us on the picket lines for over 146 days,” the negotiating committee said in a statement Sunday.
Even if the WGA settlement is approved, it won’t allow Hollywood to resume normal operations. Writing could pick up again, but the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union is still on strike.
On May 2, authors walked off the job as a result of failed discussions about pay, the number of writers’ rooms that must have a minimum workforce, the usage of artificial intelligence, and residuals that pay writers for successful streaming series, among other problems.
“We stuck it out. This is a union industry, and it’s about the people that make the actual product that makes these company billions of dollars,” WGA liaison Caroline Renard said on Sunday
A writer shared a picture of a picket sign on social media that simply said, “The End.”
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade association that speaks for Walt Disney, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, and other significant studios, provided a brief statement to the union as their sole response. “The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement,” the statement said. The planned agreement is still in its early stages. The WGA negotiating group said that it would only provide specifics once it had the final contract text.
The simultaneous strikes in Hollywood had halted the production of films and television shows and forced late-night chat shows into reruns. Daytime talk show relaunch attempts, including “The Drew Barrymore Show,” failed last month due to opposition from performers and writers who are on strike.
Protests along picket lines adopted a class-based discourse. The pay of media executives was criticised, and writers said their working circumstances made it difficult for them to maintain a middle-class lifestyle.
Executives occasionally fuelled hostilities. Disney CEO Bob Iger criticised the demands of the striking writers and performers as being “just not realistic” after signing a contract deal that increased his yearly bonus to five times his base pay. Iger then took a pacifying tone, expressing his “deep respect”
Camera operators, carpenters, production assistants, and other crew members suffered as a result of the work stoppages, as well as caterers, florists, costume suppliers, and other small companies that support the production of films and television shows.
According to an estimate by Milken Institute economist Kevin Klowden, the economic impact is anticipated to reach at least $5 billion in California and the other US manufacturing centres of New Mexico, Georgia, and New York.
Four leading business figures, including Iger, David Zaslav, co-CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, Ted Sarandos, and Donna Langley, chair of the NBCUniversal Studio Group joined discussions this week, assisting in ending the protracted deadlock.
The reason for this work action, like with previous writers’ strikes, is that Hollywood is making money off of a new kind of distribution, and authors want a piece of the cash. Extending guild rights to “new media,” including as material supplied via ad-supported internet services and movie and television downloads, was a key goal of the 100-day strike that took place in 2007–2008.