• Friday, December 08, 2023


Hollywood writers strike officially ends after 148 days

The writers’ strike began on May 2 this year after 11,500 WGA members stopped working when their contract expired.

Representative Image from ANI

By: Mohnish Singh

After a long wait of 148 days, the Hollywood writers’ strike is officially over. According to Variety, following a tentative agreement on a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the board of the WGA West and council of the WGA East decided unanimously on Tuesday to lift the strike order as of 12:01 a.m. PT on Wednesday. This means that writers can return to work as early as Wednesday, even before the final ratification vote.

The ratification vote will take place from October 2 to October 9. The WGA will have member meetings on both coasts this week, in person and through Zoom, to review the details of the contract, as per Variety.

The vote to cancel the strike order came after the WGA’s negotiating committee, the WGA West board, and the WGA East council all voted unanimously to send the contract to members for ratification.

The WGA West will have a member meeting at the Hollywood Palladium on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. PT. The WGA East will meet the same night at 6 p.m. ET at Manhattan Centre. Zoom meetings will be held at 5 p.m. PT on Thursday and 11 a.m. PT on Friday, reported Variety.

WGA also released the whole 94-page contract as well as a summary of the new terms. The agreement includes wage raises, a new requirement for minimum personnel numbers in TV writers rooms, improved payment terms for screenwriters, and safeguards against the use of artificial intelligence in the writing process. According to the guild’s agreement, as reported by Variety:

– AI can’t write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material under the MBA, meaning that AI-generated material can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights.

– A writer can choose to use AI when performing writing services if the company consents and provides that the writer follows applicable company policies, but the company can’t require the writer to use AI software (e.g., ChatGPT) when performing writing services.

– The Company must disclose to the writer if any materials given to the writer have been generated by AI or incorporate AI-generated material.

– The WGA reserves the right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by MBA or other law.

The WGA’s vote to end the strike order puts an official end to the work stoppage, which was still in effect as of Sunday when the WGA told membership: “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,” as per Variety.

The SAG-AFTRA is still picketing the AMPTP, awaiting its turn to return to the negotiating table amid its 75-day strike.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) on Sunday signed a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a labour group representing studios and streaming services.

The writers’ strike began on May 2 this year after 11,500 WGA members stopped working when their contract expired. Among the issues they were protesting included increased pay, the use of Artificial Intelligence in the creation of scripts, and the size of diminished writing staffs linked to streaming show performance.

“The WGA and AMPTPT have reached a tentative agreement,” the two groups said in a joint statement on Sunday evening.

“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,” the WGA told its members in a release, which the US-based media outlet Deadline said came after five days of long negotiations.

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