It’s officially over: The Writers Guild of America has ratified the three-year contract deal that ended the second-longest strike in the union’s history.
Ninety-nine percent of union members voted in favor of the contract in a vote that ended Monday; According to the WGA, of the 8,525 valid votes cast, there were 8,435 “yes” votes and 90 “no” votes (1 percent). The term of the new agreement is from September 25, 2023 to May 1, 2026.
“Through solidarity and determination, we have ratified a contract with meaningful benefits and protections for writers in every sector of our combined membership,” said WGAW President Meredith Stiehm. “Together we have managed to achieve what many thought was impossible just six months ago. We could not have accomplished this industry-changing contract without WGA Chief Negotiator Ellen Stutzman, Bargaining Committee Co-Chairs Chris Keyser and David A. Goodman, the entire WGA Bargaining Committee, strike captains, lot coordinators and the staff who supported us. every part of the negotiations and strike.”
The ratification marks the conclusion of the WGA’s turbulent 2023 negotiating cycle, which led to a historic 148-day strike. After a strike vote during a brief break in negotiations in the spring, union leaders officially declared a work stoppage of about 11,500 scribes on May 2. When the strike got underway, WGA members not only stopped their writing work, but also set up a picket. lines for ongoing productions, in an attempt to close them as crew members and other workers refused to cross these barriers in solidarity. The strategy proved effective in disrupting daily work in Hollywood, even before SAG-AFTRA called its own strike on July 14 (with virtually all production canceled).
“Now it’s time for the AMPTP to put the rest of the city back to work by negotiating a fair contract with our siblings SAG-AFTRA, who supported writers throughout our negotiations,” said WGAE President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen. “Until the studios reach a deal that meets artists’ needs, WGA members will stand on the picket lines, standing side by side with SAG-AFTRA in solidarity.”
Multiple stops and starts ensued in the talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and in the meantime a broad swath of industry workers were affected: Food insecurity among industry workers increased as the months passed, and some workers reported they were at risk of deportation. Ultimately, only the arrival of some of the industry’s top leaders could finally break the impasse. As of late September, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Disney CEO Bob Iger and NBCUniversal Studio Group chairman and chief content officer Donna Langley to regularly attend negotiation sessions and speak directly to guild leaders. The deal was subsequently completed within a few (marathon) days: the WGA announced a preliminary deal on the evening of September 24, after a long weekend of negotiations.
“AMPTP member companies congratulate the WGA on the ratification of its new contract, which means meaningful profits and protections for writers. It is significant progress for our industry that writers are back at work,” the AMPTP said in a statement on Monday.
Even though expectations for this strike agreement were extremely high, many writers reported before the ratification vote that they were satisfied with the results achieved. “It’s a road map. People are going to study it like the Torah,” said a showrunner The Hollywood Reporter after details of the pact were revealed in September. The union was able to wrest profits from studios that many thought were unlikely at the outset of the strike, on issues such as setting minimum staffing requirements for television work and obtaining a success-based residual for titles that perform well on streaming platforms. The writers also received regulations on the use of AI in writing, a second ‘step’ (draft or payment point) for screenwriters and a new formula for foreign residuals.
At the request of THR In late September, Chris Keyser, co-chair of the WGA bargaining committee, responded that what he wanted would be the lasting legacy of the 2023 negotiations: “This was a moment, as people have said, of labor when labor said, ‘We are no longer okay with being ignored.” “