Writers Guild Leaders End Hollywood Strike by Ratifying New Contract with Studios

by Joshua Brown
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Hollywood writers strike conclusion

The nearly five-month-long strike led by Hollywood writers came to an end on Tuesday evening as union board members sanctioned a newly minted contract with major studios, partially resuscitating an industry that had faced an unprecedented cessation in production.

Boards from the eastern and western divisions of the Writers Guild of America, along with their collaborative negotiating committee, collectively voted in favor of the provisional agreement that had been brokered two days prior with an assembly of Hollywood’s most significant studios, streaming platforms, and production enterprises. Subsequent to the approval, the union announced that the strike would officially cease, allowing writers to recommence script work as of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Late-night talk shows, which were the first to suspend broadcasts when the strike commenced on May 2, are expected to be among the earliest to resume. The relaunch of scripted series will be more protracted, given that actors are still on strike and no negotiations are currently in sight for their return.

Although writers are expected to formally ratify the contract through a vote in early October, the lifting of the strike permits them to work in the interim, as communicated to the union members via email.

Additional Context on Hollywood Labor Disputes

The brink of the writers’ strike’s resolution raises questions about what comes next. Screenwriters are awaiting details of the contract that would terminate the unprecedented labor action. Prolonged negotiations between striking writers and Hollywood studios entered their second complete day.

Following Tuesday’s board approval, the contractual terms were disclosed for the first time to the union’s writers, who until then had not received any specific details about what their leadership termed an “exceptional” deal.

The triennial contract includes considerable gains in key sectors that writers had been advocating for—namely, remuneration, job tenure, staffing levels, and governance of artificial intelligence. These gains either met or closely approached the union’s initial demands.

In financial terms, the union had aimed for minimum hikes in salaries and future residuals ranging from 5% to 6%, depending on the writer’s role. In contrast, the studios had proposed increases between 2% and 4%. The negotiated compromise entailed salary augmentations between 3.5% and 5%.

The agreement also comprised innovative residual payment structures based on the viewership of streaming shows. Writers will now receive bonuses for contributing to the most-watched shows on platforms like Netflix and Max—a proposition the studios had initially dismissed.

Furthermore, the contract stipulates that shows projected to have at least a 13-episode run must maintain a minimum of six writers on staff, with variations based on the episode count. Although the union did not secure its request for guaranteed staffing of six writers on shows yet to be commissioned, they settled for a guarantee of at least three.

Employment tenures were also addressed; staff on shows in nascent stages of development are guaranteed a minimum of 10 weeks of employment, and those on shows that are broadcast will be employed for three weeks per episode.

With regard to artificial intelligence, the writers secured the regulatory oversight they sought. AI-generated storylines will not qualify as “literary material,” thereby preventing writers from having to compete with machines for credits. Furthermore, AI-generated stories will not be considered as “source” material that can be adapted into scripts.

The contract allows writers to employ AI tools in their creative process, pending company approval and other specified conditions. However, companies are restricted from mandating writers to use AI technologies.

As writers suspended their picket lines, striking members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) resumed picketing with newfound optimism. Their leadership is now empowered to extend their strike to the lucrative video game sector, thereby intensifying pressure on studios for a settlement.

Actors are negotiating their contracts with similar stakes, encompassing wages, safety protocols, and AI governance. Major gaming companies such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Take 2 Productions, and divisions of Disney and Warner Bros. are involved in these discussions.

“Incessant gaming on part of the companies must cease for a meaningful agreement on the contract,” said SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher.

Video game producers’ spokesperson Audrey Cooling indicated that negotiations are “progressing in a manner marked by good faith,” with tentative accords reached on more than half of the proposals put forth.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News video journalists Leslie Ambriz and Krysta Fauria in Los Angeles.

For comprehensive coverage of the strikes affecting writers and actors, visit: https://bigbignews.net/hollywood-strikes/

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hollywood writers strike conclusion

What led to the end of the nearly five-month-long Hollywood writers strike?

The strike was officially ended after union board members from the Writers Guild of America approved a new contract with major studios, streaming platforms, and production companies.

When did the Writers Guild of America boards vote to end the strike?

The boards voted to end the strike on a Tuesday evening, two days after a provisional agreement had been reached with the industry’s major players.

What key areas does the new contract cover?

The triennial contract addresses several key areas that were important to the writers, including compensation rates, length of employment, staffing levels, and governance over the use of artificial intelligence in the industry.

What financial changes were made in the new contract?

The new contract includes salary increases ranging from 3.5% to 5%, as well as new structures for residual payments based on the popularity of streaming shows.

What will happen to late-night talk shows and scripted series?

Late-night talk shows, which were the first to be affected by the strike, are expected to resume production first. The return of scripted series will take longer due to ongoing strikes by actors.

Are writers allowed to use Artificial Intelligence under the new contract?

Yes, writers are allowed to use Artificial Intelligence tools in their creative process, provided the company they are working for agrees and meets other specified conditions.

Are actors still on strike?

Yes, members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) are still on strike at the time of the report, and negotiations for their return are not yet underway.

What is the stance of SAG-AFTRA on expanding their strike to the video game market?

SAG-AFTRA has empowered its leadership to potentially extend their strike to include the video game industry, putting additional pressure on studios to negotiate.

Who are some of the major players involved in ongoing actors’ negotiations?

Major gaming companies such as Activision, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Take 2 Productions, as well as divisions of Disney and Warner Bros., are involved in negotiations with actors.

More about Hollywood writers strike conclusion

  • Writers Guild of America Official Website
  • Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) Official Website
  • Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers Official Website
  • Labor Strikes in Hollywood: A Historical Overview
  • Understanding Residual Payments in the Entertainment Industry
  • Artificial Intelligence in Screenwriting: Challenges and Opportunities
  • The Economics of Streaming Services
  • The Impact of Labor Strikes on the Entertainment Industry
  • The Future of Collective Bargaining in Hollywood
  • Negotiation Tactics in Entertainment Labor Disputes

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