The writers’ strike is (almost) over. The Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, a collection of Hollywood’s biggest studios, came to a “tentative agreement” on a new contract on Sunday, heralding an end to the WGA strike that started on May 2.
The agreement still needs to be ratified: first, by the writers’ negotiating committee, then by the WGA West board and the WGA East council in votes scheduled for Tuesday, and finally by the union’s membership. For now, writers remain on strike, but picketing has been suspended. It’s possible the union leadership will lift its restraining order and allow writers to return to work from Tuesday, before the membership ratification vote takes place.
The terms of the new deal were not announced, but will be published before the membership vote. “What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language,” the WGA explained in a statement. “And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last ‘i’ is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job.”
Issues under discussion included regulation around AI, staffing of writers rooms, and how residual payments could be tied to the performance of shows on streaming. “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 said.
Sunday’s agreement was reached on day 146, making this the longest Hollywood writers’ strike since 1988. The strike started off with negotiations, but eventually hit a standstill, with neither party coming to the negotiating table. The holdout between the two groups ended last week with both parties returning on Wednesday. According to The Hollywood Reporter, days of intense discussion followed, with the studios tabling their “best and final” offer late on Saturday. It seems the writers sensed they had the upper hand, because union negotiators were able to make a few additional requests on Sunday before the agreement was reached.
The potential end of the strike will mean that pre-production and writing on shows like The Last of Us season 2 can resume, but it isn’t the end of the studios’ labor problems. The Screen Actors Guild is also on strike against the AMPTP and continues to negotiate toward an agreement and contract of its own. As long as the SAG strike continues, production in Hollywood will still be on hold, even if shows and movies are back in development with the writers returning to work. Late night and daytime talk shows, however, will be able to resume production immediately — albeit without any striking actors as guests.
“SAG-AFTRA congratulates the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency and solidarity on the picket lines,” the actors’ guild said in a statement. “While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members. Since the day the WGA strike began, SAG-AFTRA members have stood alongside the writers on the picket lines. 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.”