The Writers Guild has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to end its strike after nearly five months. The parties finalized the framework of the deal Sunday when they were able to untangle their stalemate over AI and writing room staffing levels.
“We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language,” the guild told members this evening in a release, which came just after sunset and the start of the Yom Kippur holiday that many had seen deadline to wrap up deal after five days of long negotiations.
Details of the WGA’s tentative agreement haven’t been released, but will be revealed by the guild in advance of the membership ratification votes.
Next steps in process will see the Ellen Stutzman-led WGA negotiating committee vote on “whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval” in votes tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, the guild said tonight.
Pending those votes, the WGA told its members tonight that it is still on strike but all picketing is suspended.
Read the guild’s full statement to its members below.
Virtual discussions began mid-afternoon between negotiating committees for the WGA and the AMPTP. Along with the fine tuning on issues like AI and staffing one element of some continuing dispute today was around back-to-work schedules and protocols.
The studios also inquired if, once a tentative agreement is ratified by the scribes, if the writers would pick up their pens and hit their keyboards again very soon afterwards. The guild, from what we understand, had made the request that their members not return to work until SAG-AFTRA also had a new agreement with the AMPTP, reflective of the WGA’s feeling of solidarity between the two unions that has characterized their first mutual strike since 1960.
It will take a few days for the strike to be officially over as the WGA West and WGA East proceed with their ratification process. During the WGA’s last strike in 2007-08, a tentative agreement was reached on the 96th day and it wasn’t over until the 100th.
The first shows to shut down when the current WGA strike began on May 2 – late-night comedy shows and daytime talk shows – will be able to return to air almost immediately because SAG-AFTRA’s ongoing strike doesn’t include them as struck productions. Films and scripted TV shows that didn’t sign Interim Agreements with SAG-AFTRA will remain dark until that strike is settled as well.
All attention will now turn to ratifying the WGA deal and getting SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP back to the bargaining table to work out a deal to end the actors’ strike, which has now been going on for 73 days.
Hollywood and the entertainment industry can breathe just a little easier, but economists estimated that the dual WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have cost California’s economy some $5 billion.
Here’s the WGA’s message to members tonight:
We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.
What we have won in this contract – most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd – is due 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. It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal.
We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.
What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. 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. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again – one last time.
Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.
If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval.
Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification.
To be clear, no one is 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. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.
Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us — and had to fend off rumors — during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes.
As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.
The post It’s A Deal! WGA & AMPTP Reach Tentative Agreement To End Writers Strike appeared first on Deadline.