The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have arrived at a tentative agreement, signaling the potential end of a nearly five-month-long strike.
The framework of the accord was solidified on Sunday, dissolving the standoff concerning artificial intelligence and writers' room staffing levels.
“The WGA and AMPTPT have reached a tentative agreement,” declared both entities in a collective statement, while the WBA told its members: “We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language."
This long-awaited announcement came at the beginning of the Yom Kippur holiday following five extensive days of negotiations. Specifics of the agreement remain confidential but are slated for release by the guild before the membership ratification votes.
The ensuing phases of this process involve the WGA negotiating committee, led by Ellen Stutzman, determining “whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval,” in votes likely to be cast on Tuesday.
The WGA has suspended all picketing, although it has emphasized that it remains technically on strike pending these votes.
The parleys, which started in the afternoon, witnessed both committees finessing contentious points including AI, staffing, and back-to-work protocols.
The studios were eager to discern whether the writers would promptly recommence their tasks post the ratification of the tentative agreement.
The guild had initially advocated for the return of its members to their writing responsibilities only after SAG-AFTRA also concluded an agreement with the AMPTP, underlining the inherent solidarity between the two unions, a sentiment reminiscent of their mutual strike in 1960.
The WGA informed its members that, contingent on the board’s authorization, they might resume work during the ratification vote to conclude the strike.
Official termination of the strike would require a few more days as both WGA West and WGA East advance with their ratification proceedings. The historical context is significant: during the last WGA strike in 2007-08, the tentative accord was reached on the 96th day, and the strike concluded on the 100th.
If an agreement is reached, late-night comedy and daytime talk shows can potentially resume immediately, as they are not included in the productions struck by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
However, films and scripted TV shows that lack Interim Agreements with SAG-AFTRA will remain on hiatus until the actors’ strike is resolved.
The focus now shifts to the ratification of the WGA deal and the resumption of discussions between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP to resolve the actors’ strike, enduring for 73 days now.
There’s a discernible sigh of relief in Hollywood and the broader entertainment sphere, but the economic ramifications are significant. The simultaneous WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes are estimated to have inflicted a $5 billion dent in California’s economy.
This agreement is pivotal, as it illustrates the culmination of rigorous dialogue and the mutual desire to resolve underlying issues. The entertainment industry, while relieved, still remains cautious, anticipating the resolutions of ongoing disputes.