On Sunday, Hollywood’s striking writers represented by The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and production workers represented by The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) reached a tentative agreement (subject to final contract language). The tentative agreement has finally been declared a “victory”. The writers’ strike began on May 2 and followed five back-to-back days of negotiations that ran through last weekend.
In WGA’s email, copy-pasted onto Reddit and sent to its members on Sunday, the union’s negotiating committee credited the newly drafted contract to the “willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days.”
As part of the new deal, AI will be forbidden.
Hollywood writers’ demands that have been met include the use of artificial intelligence (AI) being completely barred from writing or rewriting literary material, as well as generating source material.
Additionally, the agreement will see large increases to foreign streaming residual payments and a new bonus based on streamer viewership, as well as increased minimum rates for writers.
According to Forbes, this form of data was a sticking point during union negotiations, as writers called for measurable performance metrics that could be translated into residuals. Such residuals are long-term payments sent when their show or movies rerun or are purchased, and are shared for union members who work on hit shows.
The new deal will now require big streaming companies, such as Netflix and Hulu, to report viewership numbers and therefore empower writers’ knowledge as to the show they work on.
The agreement also outlines minimum staffing numbers for writers and writer-producers across seasons of varying lengths.
The Writers Guild prided itself on the “exceptional deal”, which will now include protections for writers in every sector of the membership. Nevertheless, the WGA also noted that its staff has to now “make sure everything they have agreed to is codified in final contract language.” The details of the deal will be shared with the public when the last “i” is dotted.
As the WGA stated its next official steps, the union wanted to make it clear that “no one was to 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 WGA wrote. “Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.”
Hollywood actors remain on strike with no talks yet on the horizon.
Time reported that “striking actors voted to expand their walkout to include the lucrative video game market, a step that could put new pressure on Hollywood studios to make a deal with the performers who provide voices and stunts for games”.
Moreover, the SAG-AFTRA announced earlier this week that 98% of its members voted to go on strike against video game companies if ongoing negotiations are not successful.