Placards are gathered together at the close of a picket by members of The Writers Guild of America outside Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif., on May 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) stated on Sept. 24 that it had reached a “tentative agreement” with major Hollywood studios, potentially ending a nearly five month-long strike that has brought film and television production to a standstill.
The WGA, representing more than 11,000 writers, said a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has been reached but that they are still finalizing the “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 stated in a letter
The WGA said the tentative deal is “exceptional—with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.” The terms of the agreement weren’t immediately available.
“What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language,” the organization said.
“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.”
The memorandum of agreement with AMPTP will go through votes for ratification. It will first be presented to WGA’s negotiating committee for a vote, followed by a review by the WGA West’s Board and the WGA East’s Council.
The Board and Council will vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership, and if that authorization is approved, they will next decide whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike.
The WGA stated that members aren’t to resume work “until specifically authorized to by the Guild.” Instead, it encouraged members to join the picket line for the actors’ strike this week.
“We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing,” it stated.
The agreement comes just five days before the strike would have become the longest in the guild’s history and the longest Hollywood strike in more than 70 years.
Actors, Studios Yet to Reach Agreement
However, a deal has yet to be reached between the studios and the actors’ union. AMPTP has yet to resume talks with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA).
SAG-AFTRA, representing more than 160,000 actors, said they will remain on strike and “continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that ... members deserve and demand.”
“While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members,” SAG-AFTRA stated.
The proposed solution to the writers’ strike came after talks resumed on Sept. 20 for the first time in a month. Chief executives, including Bob Iger of Disney, Ted Sarandos of Netflix, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Donna Langley of NBCUniversal, reportedly participated directly in the negotiations.
It was reached without the intervention of federal mediators or other government officials, which had been necessary in previous strikes.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass congratulated both WGA and AMPTP on reaching a tentative agreement and said she hopes a similar resolution can soon be achieved with actors.
“This historic strike impacted so many across Los Angeles and across the nation. Now, we must focus on getting the entertainment industry, and all the small businesses that depend on it, back on their feet and stronger than ever before,” she said.
On July 14, more than two months into the strike, the writers got a dose of solidarity and star power—along with new picketing partners—when they were joined by 65,000 striking film and television actors.
It was the first time the two groups had been on strike together since 1960. In that walkout, the writers’ strike started first and ended second. This time, studios opted to deal with the writers first.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.