WGA strike ends Wednesday members allowed to return to work

WGA strike ends Wednesday, members allowed to return to work

The strike lasted 148 days.

September 26, 2023, 10:20 p.m. ET

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After 148 days, leaders of the Writers Guild of America voted unanimously to lift their strike, allowing writers to return to work on Wednesday, September 27th.

“The WGAW Board of Directors and the WGAE Council also voted unanimously to lift the injunction and end the strike on Wednesday, September 27 at 12:01 a.m. PT/3:01 a.m. ET. This allows authors to return to their work during the ratification process. However, this does not affect members’ right to make a final decision on contract approval,” the union said on Tuesday.

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

Since finalizing the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), the WGA has been able to share details of the “extraordinary deal with benefits and protections for members across all lines of business.”

The three-year agreement states: “The minimum amounts will be increased by 5% upon ratification of the agreement, by 4% on May 2, 2024 and by 3.5% on May 2, 2025.”

The preliminary contract established regulations for the use of artificial intelligence in projects covered by the Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA). Namely, banning a company from using “author’s material to train AI.”

The agreement states that material generated by AI “will not be considered source material” and AI cannot write or rewrite literary material.

Authors are allowed to use AI if they wish, but cannot be required by the agreement by the company they work for.

The agreement also provided for a “viewer-based streaming bonus,” in which series and films viewed by 20% of subscribers in the first 90 days of release would receive a bonus equal to 50% of the established domestic and foreign balance .

The contract will only be effective if it receives the majority of the union members. If members vote to reject the contract, both sides will have to return to the negotiating table.

Eligible voters can vote Monday through Oct. 9 and will receive ballots and confirmation materials when voting begins.

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 after the WGA reached a tentative agreement with the studios. “After a nearly five-month 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 hope the same can happen soon with the Screen Actors Guild,” said Bass.

In July, a union representing nearly 160,000 actors joined the picket lines as they began seeking a new contract, bringing activity in Hollywood to a virtual standstill.