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Home / writers

WGA members overwhelmingly ratify labor deal with studios

Members of the Writers Guild of America overwhelmingly ratified a new labor contract with Hollywood studios, the union announced Monday, closing the book on a strike that helped bring film and TV production to a halt.

Of those who cast ballots in a ratification vote that began last Monday, 99% voted in favor of the new pact, WGA leaders wrote in a message to union members. According to the message, 8,525 votes were cast, and 8,435 were in favor, with only 90 no votes.

The new pact will be in place through May 1, 2026.

The three-year deal was announced Sept. 24 following five straight days of talks between negotiators for the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents Hollywood studios.

The boards of the WGA East and West both endorsed the deal on Sept. 26, clearing the way for the WGA to officially end the strike — which began May 2. The boards’ approvals also allowed writers to return to work while the ratification process played out.

“This (end of the WGA strike) 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 negotiating committee wrote to union members on Sept. 26.

Some writers have already resumed work, with late-night talk shows returning to the air with new episodes. But others are believed to still be honoring picket lines of the striking SAG-AFTRA actors’ union. WGA negotiating committee members have encouraged writers who are able to continue supporting the striking actors.

That encouragement continued on Monday in the message sent to WGA members.

“As our negotiations come to an end, we won’t forget our SAG-AFTRA siblings who have supported writers every step of the way,” according to the union message. “We call upon the AMPTP to negotiate a deal that addresses the needs of performers and, until they do, we ask WGA members who can to continue to show up on their picket lines in solidarity.”

Labor talks between the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA were set to continue Wednesday following negotiating sessions Monday and three last week that marked the first talks between the sides since the actors went on strike in mid-July.

The WGA deal includes stepped increases of minimum salaries that will jump by 5% upon ratification, 4% in May 2024 and 3.5% in May 2025. There are also increases in health and pension contributions.

The contract also includes restrictions on studios’ use of artificial intelligence, barring AI from writing or rewriting literary material and preventing AI-generated material from being considered source material, meaning it can’t “undermine a writer’s credit.”

In addition, the contract includes a new residual formula for streaming programs, boosting pay for particularly successful programs. According to the guild, shows or films “that are viewed by 20% or more of the service’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release, or in the first 90 days in any subsequent exhibition year, get a bonus equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and foreign residual, with views calculated as hours streamed domestically of the season or film divided by runtime.”

Also included are increases in pay for writers employed on TV series, along with employment guarantees for set numbers of writers on series, based on the number of episodes being produced.

A full summary prepared by the WGA of the contract is online at wgacontract2023.org/the-campaign/summary-of-the-2023-wga-mba.

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