Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have unanimously voted to end the strike after 148 days. Writers are now allowed to get back to work on Wednesday, September 27.
“The WGAW Board and WGAE Council also voted to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th. This allows writers to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval,” the union has announced.
What are the details of the contract?
WGA was able to share details of the “exceptional deal, with gains and protections for members in every sector of the business,” since the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was finalised. The three-year deal stated that “Most MBA minimums will increase by 5% on ratification of the contract, 4% on 5/2/2024 and 3.5% on 5/2/2025. Some minimums and rates increase less, mostly by 3% each year, while a few rates increase only once or do not increase over the contract. These exceptions are the result of patterns established in the industry.”
It also stated that “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 provided 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 agreement went on to lay out “viewership-based streaming bonus,” stating, “The Guild negotiated a new residual based on viewership. Made-for HBSVOD series and films that are viewed by 20% or more of the service’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release, or in the first 90 days in any subsequent exhibition year, get a bonus equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and foreign residual, with views calculated as hours streamed domestically of the season or film divided by runtime.”
The contract will take effect only if it received the union members’ majority support. Both sides will have to get back to bargaining if the contract is rejected. Liable voters can start voting from October 9.
After WGA reached a tentative deal with the studios, Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass reportedly said in a statement, “After a nearly five-month long strike, I am grateful that the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached a fair agreement and I’m hopeful that the same can happen soon with the Screen Actors Guild.”