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Writers Guild of America to officially end strike

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The Writers Guild of America (WGA) will officially lift its strike on Wednesday, allowing Hollywood’s writers to return to work after a nearly five-month halt on most TV and film productions. 

The WGA said Tuesday it voted to lift the strike as of 12 a.m. PST, which will authorize Hollywood writers to return to work before voting next month on a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group that represents studios, streaming services, and production companies in negotiations.

WGA’s negotiating committee, board and council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of the tentative agreement, which will now go to both WGA’s East and West guilds where eligible voters will take it up for ratification on Oct. 2-9. 

The three-year proposed deal, announced Sunday, came after five marathon days of talks by WGA and Hollywood studios. It includes a 5 percent minimum pay increase once the contract is ratified. Workers will receive another 4 percent bump in May 2024 and 2.5 percent in May 2025. 

The union said the deal also includes increase health and pension contribution rates and regulations over artificial intelligence (AI) on contract-covered projects. This means AI cannot write or rewrite material and AI-generated material will not be considered source material, a move that comes amid Hollywood writers’ push against AI. 

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The guild also negotiated a new residual rate based on viewership, where high budget subscription video on demand series and films that are viewed by 20 percent 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 will receive a bonus equal to 50 percent of the fixed domestic and foreign residual. 

This bonus structure will go into effect for projects released on or after Jan. 1, 2024, WGA said. 

WGA suspended picketing on Sunday, but encouraged their writers to instead join the picket lines for SAG-AFTRA, the largest union for Hollywood actors. 

SAG-AFTRA began its strike in July after failing to reach an agreement with film studios, marking the first dual strike since 1960. Both unions demanded better wages and working conditions, as well as higher residual rates related to streaming. 

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Source: The Hill

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