WGA strike to end Wednesday, members authorized to return to work

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(NEW YORK) — After 148 days, leaders of the Writers Guild of America have unanimously voted to lift its strike, allowing writers to return to work Wednesday, Sept. 27.

“The WGAW Board and WGAE Council also voted unanimously to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th. This 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 union announced on Tuesday.

The WGA, which represents nearly 11,500 screenwriters, released the entire seven-page agreement.

Since finalizing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), WGA was able to share details of the “exceptional deal, with gains and protections for members in every sector of the business.”

The three-year deal stated “minimums will increase by 5% on ratification of the contract, 4% on May 2, 2024, and 3.5% on May 2, 2025.”

The tentative contract established regulations for the use of Artificial Intelligence in Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA)-covered projects. Namely, prohibiting a company from using “writers’ material to train AI.”

The agreement states AI-generated material “will not be considered source material” and AI can’t write or rewrite literary material.

Writers are allowed to use AI if they wish, but cannot be required by the company they’re working for, according to the agreement.

The agreement also laid out a “viewership-based streaming bonus” — when series and films are viewed by 20% of subscribers in the first 90 days of release, writers get a bonus equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and foreign residual.

The contract will only take effect if it gains majority support from the union members. If the members vote to reject the contract, the two sides will have to return to the bargaining table.

Eligible voters will be able to vote beginning Monday through Oct. 9, and will receive ballot and ratification materials when the vote opens.

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 issued a statement Monday, following WGA reaching a tentative deal with the studios.

“After a nearly five-month long strike, I am grateful that the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have reached a fair agreement and I’m hopeful that the same can happen soon with the Screen Actors Guild,” Bass said.

In July, a union representing nearly 160,000 actors joined the picket lines as they began seeking a new contract of their own, effectively bringing activity in Hollywood to a halt.

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