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Hollywood writers and companies reach tentative agreement on the 146th day after strike

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Source: Screendaily / Jeremy Kay

WGA members on strike in Hollywood

Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood companies have reached what the union said was an “exceptional” tentative agreement on a new three-year contract on Sunday night, marking the 146th day of the work stoppage.

In a statement at the end of five days of intense negotiations with Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) the WGA said both sides had agreed “in principle on all deal points”, signalling a meeting of the minds on the thorny issues surrounding writer room staffing levels, streamer residuals, and regulation of generative AI.

Later on Sunday night WGA and AMPTP issued a brief joint statement saying they had reached a tentative agreement.

WGA said once the language on the memorandum of agreement was finalised and the document had cleared several internal leadership checks, tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, it will immediately share a summary of the deal points with members.

A ratification vote is expected to take place within a few days.

Until further notice WGA said its 11,500 members remain on strike. The work stoppage started on May 2 and has been bearing down on the 154-day record of the writers’ 1998 strike.

There are no longer any WGA picket lines, although the union encouraged members to join striking SAG-AFTRA members on their picket lines.

“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 WGA negotiating committee said.

SAG-AFTRA congratulated WGA in a statement, hailing its “incredible strength, resiliency and solidarity on the picket lines”.

The writers breakthrough will fuel hopes for a swift resolution with SAG-AFTRA, which has not sat down with the studios and streamers since the start of its work stoppage 73 days ago on July 14.

The actors union added. SAG-AFTRA has stood with the writers since the WGA strike started. We remain on strike in our TV/Theatrical contract and continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand.”

The full WGA statement appears below:

Dear Members,

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.

What we have won in this contract–most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd–is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days. It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal.

We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional–with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.

What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. We are eager to share with you the details of the deal we have reached, but we can’t do so until we have dotted the last “i”. We would be unable to complete the task if we did so. The Negotiating Committee will then vote on whether or not to recommend the agreement to the WGAW Board, and WGAE Council, for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.

If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval.

Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification.

To be clear,

no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We will remain on strike until that time. We have suspended WGA picketing as of today. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us–and had to fend off rumors–during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for more information from the Guild. You will hear from us again very soon. You will hear from us again very soon.

In solidarity,

WGA Negotiating Committee

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