Writers Guild of America Ends 148-Day Strike, Allowing Writers to Return to Work on Wednesday
The Writers Guild of America (WGA), which includes nearly 11,500 screenwriters, has unanimously voted to lift a strike after 148 days. The decision, which also lifts a restraining order, brings the screenwriters back to work and ends the strike that began on September 27th. However, the final contract still requires approval from the members.
The WGA released the entire seven-page agreement, detailing an “exceptional deal” for its members. The three-year deal proposes an increase in minimums by 5% upon ratification of the contract, 4% on May 2, 2024, and 3.5% on May 2, 2025. The agreement also outlines gains and protections for members in every sector of their business.
Regulations for AI Use in Projects
The tentative contract includes regulations for the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA)-covered projects. It prohibits companies from using writers’ materials to train AI and states that AI-generated material will not be considered source material. Moreover, the contract ensures that AI cannot write or rewrite any literary material.
The new contract introduces a “viewership-based streaming bonus”. This applies when series and films are viewed by 20% of subscribers in the first 90 days of release. The bonus is equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and foreign residual.
Contract Subject to Majority Approval
The contract proposal is subject to majority approval from the union members. If rejected, both sides will return to the bargaining table. Voting begins on Monday and continues through October 9th.
In July, a union representing nearly 160,000 actors joined the picket lines as they began seeking a new contract. This effectively brought activity in Hollywood to a halt. The strike was less than a week away from surpassing the longest strike in Writers Guild history, which occurred in 1988 and lasted 154 days.
Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass expressed gratitude for the tentative agreement between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. She also expressed hope for a similar outcome with the Screen Actors Guild.
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