The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has announced the end of its months-long writers strike in Hollywood.
Today (September 27), the WGA took to social media to announce the end of the months-long strike that began in May and has revealed the terms and details of its tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
“Today, our negotiating committee, WGAW Board and WGAE council all voted unanimously to recommend the agreement. The strike ends at 12:01AM,” the Writers Guild of America West wrote on X.
The WGA reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP. Today, our Negotiating Committee, WGAW Board, and WGAE Council all voted unanimously to recommend the agreement. The strike ends at 12:01 am. Check out our deal at https://t.co/c0ULMXhPL7. #WGAStrong pic.twitter.com/7z8kw9xI1p
— Writers Guild of America West (@WGAWest) September 27, 2023
Besides announcing the end of the strike – which now clocks in at 148 days – the WGA has also shared documents detailing the terms of its agreement with the AMPTP and studios in Hollywood.
A seven-page document was distributed to WGA’s 11,500 film and TV writers and has since been shared online. It details increases in wages and residuals, as well as the union’s demands for minimum staff in writers rooms, bonus payments based on streaming shows’ success and protections against the use of AI. See the full document here.
The agreement will be in effect from September 25, 2023 until May 1, 2026 – giving the WGA two-and-a-half years to work under the agreed-upon terms.
The three-year deal outlines a 12.5 per cent pay increase starting with 5 per cent upon the contract’s ratification. For the following two years, writers will receive 4 and 3.5 per cent increases in the respective years.
In addition to raises, writers secured a 76 per cent increase in their foreign streaming residuals. Writers will also receive a “viewership-based streaming bonus” depending upon the length of the show or if the streaming feature has a budget over US$30 million.
The new agreement also sets minimum staffing requirements for TV writers rooms based on the length of the season. For series with up to six episodes, three writers must be hired. For shows with 13 or more episodes per season, minimum staffing will be six writers, which can include three writer-producers.
A major point of contention that led to the strike’s commencement in May as well as its drawn out process was the WGA’s and AMPTP’s differing views on the use of AI. Initially, the WGA sought for protection against AI, while the AMPTP rejected the idea and instead counted with an offer of an annual meeting “to discuss advancements in technology.”
Now, both parties have agreed to establish a set of guidelines regulating the use of AI in MBA-covered productions. Moving forward, AI cannot be used to write or rewrite any literary material and AI-generated material cannot be considered source material.
However, the agreement does not prohibit writers from using AI to help with writing if their respective companies allow it. Studios also cannot require a writer to use AI software and must also inform writers if any of the materials they receive are AI-generated or contain AI-generated material. Lastly, the WGA “reserves the right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by MBA or other law”.
While the WGA strike has now come to an end, Hollywood is still facing another ongoing strike as the SAG-AFTRA’s striking actors have yet to come to a deal with the AMPTP. The Hollywood actors union joined the WGA in striking on July 13, after negotiations broke down with the AMPTP, who represent major studios like Netflix, Disney, Apple, Amazon, Warner Bros. and others.
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