The leaders of the Hollywood writers’ union have declared their nearly five-month strike over after board members approved a contract deal with studios.
The governing councils of the Eastern and Western branches of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) both voted to accept the deal, then declared that the strike would be over and that writers would be free to work beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday.
The writers still must vote to ratify the contract itself, but lifting the strike will allow them to continue working during that process, the Writers Guild told members in an email.
Hollywood actors continue to strike with no talks on the horizon, and writers are now being encouraged to stand in solidarity with the actors.
The WGA Negotiating Committee said: ‘The WGA has reached a preliminary agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP)P on a new three-year minimum base agreement.
The writers still have to vote to ratify the contract itself, but lifting the strike will allow them to get started during that process
Actors Jack Black, left, and Bob Odenkirk join protesters outside the Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles, Tuesday, September 26, 2023
The WGA Negotiating Committee said: “The WGA has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year minimum base agreement.
“On September 26, the Negotiating Committee, WGAW Board and WGAE Board all voted unanimously to recommend the agreement.
“It now goes to the memberships of both guilds for a ratification vote. Eligible voters can vote from October 2 to 9 and will receive ballot and ratification materials when voting begins.
“The WGAW Board and WGAE Board also voted to lift the restraining order and end the strike effective at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET on Wednesday, September 27.
“This gives writers the opportunity to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the members’ right to make a final decision on approving contracts.”
Thousands of film and television writers put down their pens in early May over demands such as better pay, greater rewards for creating hit shows and protection from artificial intelligence.
They manned picket lines outside offices including Netflix and Disney for months and were joined by high-profile actors in mid-July, leaving normally busy Hollywood lots virtually empty in a dramatic show of force.
Five days of intense talks between the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, culminated Sunday.
Meredith Stiehm, president of the Writers Guild of America West, pickets outside the Paramount Pictures studio, Monday, May 8, 2023, in Los Angeles.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, left, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is a major part of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers
With hundreds of film and television shoots backed up, it could take months before Hollywood resolves the logistical impasse and returns to full operations.
Actors stood on the picket lines outside Netflix on Tuesday, joined by members of the WGA who were there in support.
‘Our strike is over. But the battle continues until the actors get their deal,” said WGA member Vinnie Wilhelm.
“Without the support of the actors, we wouldn’t have gotten the deal we got.”
The agreement, which still needs to be approved by union members, was reached on Sunday evening after five days of lengthy negotiations.
Three leaders have come to embody the AMPTP: Disney CEO Bob Iger, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
The strike had lasted 148 days, making it the second longest WGA strike in history.