Sunday evening, the Writers Guild of America and the major Hollywood studios have reached a tentative deal that would end a strike that has lasted nearly five months. The news was announced following several marathon bargaining sessions that took place this week in Los Angeles.
Almost 20,000 writers have been without work or pay since May 2 as negotiations between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, came to a stand-still over the summer.
“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 union’s negotiating committee said in a statement to its members.
The terms of the deal, which were not immediately made public, must still be ratified by the WGA’s 11,000+ members. The three-year contract would increase pay rates and residual payments for streaming shows and change the rules in regard to AI in the content production process. “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 negotiating team said Sunday. “But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing.”
Since the tentative pact with the WGA has been completed, the AMPTP will likely now turn its attention to the 160,000-member performers union, SAG-AFTRA. Approximately 65,000 actors in SAG-AFTRA joined the WGA on the picket lines in mid-July, effectively shutting down all scripted production in the entertainment industry, marking the first time the two unions have been on strike simultaneously since 1960.
These Hollywood strikes have impacted the economy in more ways than one. According to Todd Holmes, Associate Professor of Entertainment Media Management at Cal State Northridge, estimated that the damage of the two strikes on California was about $5 billion. In New York, disruption of 11 major productions resulted in a loss of $1.3 billion and 17,000 jobs, according to Empire State Development.
Lasting 146 days, the length of the WGA strike was almost unprecedented. Had its duration went until October, it would have been the longest Hollywood strike since 1945, and the longest strike in the union’s history.