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Hollywood Writers Are Set to Vote on New Contract After Ending 148-Day Strike

The tentative deal meets several of the screenwriters’ demands, including pay raises and improved health care benefits.

A WGA support sign rests near SAG-AFTRA members picketing outside Warner Bros. Studio as the actors strike continues on September 26, 2023, in Burbank, California.

Hollywood screenwriters’ monthslong strike ended Wednesday after the Writers Guild of America leadership voted unanimously to recommend the tentative three-year contract agreement that the union reached with major studios over the weekend.

WGA members will now vote on whether to ratify the deal, which includes higher pay than the studios were originally willing to offer, improved healthcare benefits, viewership-based streaming residuals, minimum staffing requirements for television writers’ rooms, and regulations constraining studios’ use of artificial intelligence.

In a statement late Tuesday, the WGA negotiating committee said that union members “will be able to vote from October 2nd through October 9th, and will receive ballot and ratification materials when the vote opens.”

“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,” the committee added. “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 WGA committee called the tentative agreement an “exceptional deal, with gains and protections for members in every sector of the business.”

“The WGA appears to have won more than analysts initially believed possible,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. “Studios suggested early on that they wouldn’t bend on issues like residuals or staffing, citing changes streaming has made to their industry. But the strike — coupled with the SAG-AFTRA walkout — has crippled Hollywood, with studio owners like Warner Bros. Discovery predicting big hits to their earnings. Analysts have estimated that studios could lose as much as $1.6 billion in global ticket sales because of movie delays.”

According to survey data, the writers’ strike was broadly popular with the U.S. public. A Data for Progress poll conducted last month found that 67% of all likely voters backed the strike, while a Gallup survey showed that the public sympathized with screenwriters over Hollywood studios by a margin of 72% to 19%.

SAG-AFTRA actors who joined writers on the picket lines will remain on strike, and the union said Wednesday that it currently has no scheduled dates to meet with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the major studios.

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