Following five months of deliberation, the Writers Guild of America have struck a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers as the Guild warns: ‘No one is to return to work until specifically authorized.’
The writers’ strike for fairer wages drew Hollywood to a standstill, and those who dared carry on with production – among the likes of Drew Barrymore and Bill Maher – faced immense blowback that prompted them to cancel their shows once again.
But the WGA appeared to have reached a tentative labor agreement with major studios including Paramount, Sony and Universal on September 24.
The deal is expected to end one of two strikes that have halted most film and television production and cost the California economy billions.
The WGA released a statement praising union members for remaining steadfast and demonstrating solidarity.
The strike began in early May, as writers expressed concern over wages, staffing and other issues
The WGA represents over 11,000 writers and is split into West and East chapters
In their statement, the Guild praised union members and wrote: ‘We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional’
While picketing has been suspended, writers were advised not to return to work until explicitly told to do so
It read, in part: ‘We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional—with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.’
Before the three-year contract can take effect, it must be approved by members of the WGA, which is 11,500 people strong.
‘So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again—one last time,’ the Guild wrote.
The organization laid out a multi-step process to finalize the agreement culminating with leadership votes tentatively scheduled for September 26.
‘Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval,’ the statement read.
The Board and Council would then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.
If authorization was 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.
This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect their ability to make a final decision on contract approval.
Following this process, the Guild would hold meetings to inform members about the deal before they could vote on ratification.
However, writers were warned not 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,’ the statement read.
The strike began May 2 after negotiations ended in deadlock.
Writers voiced concern over unfair compensation, minimum staffing of writers’ rooms, use of artificial intelligence and residuals rewarding writers for popular streaming shows.
While the deal marks the end of a several-months battle, the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union remains on strike.
As WGA picketing has officially ended, the Guild encourages writers to protest alongside the actors instead.