It’s been about a month and a half of grueling negotiations but, it appears that, very early on Tuesday morning, the Writers Guild of America and major studios have finally come to an agreement on the terms of a new contract, thus averting the possibility of a strike within the industry.
Negotiations began back on March 13th and continued right up until the absolute last minute as the contract’s expiration would have been effective on May 1. If no deal was reached by this time, the WGA would have issued a work stoppage ultimately crippling production on numerous films and television shows. This would have been the guild’s seventh strike since 1960. The most recent strike began in November 2007 and lasted for 100-days of work stoppage, fueled by the WGA’s demand for new media residuals and jurisdiction. Luckily, all has been avoided through this negotiation.
Both sides of the table shook hands in agreement just shortly after midnight this morning, a mere few minutes after the previous contract expiration deadline. The WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers had been hosting a marathon of negotiations, including a Sunday meeting and a non-stop, albeit productive gathering Monday, all in hopes of reaching deal.
Once the agreement was reached, a representative from the WGA told members in a memo:
“Your Negotiating Committee is pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP that we can recommend for ratification. In it, we made gains in minimums across the board – as well as contribution increases to our Health Plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in Options and Exclusivity. We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.”
In addition, the memo also said the that the guild “won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV…. And, also for the first time ever, job protection on Parental Leave,” it went on.
It concluded by stating that not all demands were met but, a true compromise was reached:
“Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not. But because we had the near-unanimous backing of you and your fellow writers, we were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept.
That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives.
We will, of course, provide more details in the next few days. But until then, we just wanted to thank you – and congratulate you. Your voices were indeed heard.“
A strike would have required nearly all of the WGA’s members to stop work immediately however, this has, thankfully, been avoided! So, for now, it appears that all of your favorite TV shows and films in production are safe from any disruption and that’s definitely something to celebrate!
A karaoke obsessed, craft beer enthusiast and lover of all things pop culture, Denise enjoys all facets of entertainment from Broadway to box office blockbusters. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, concerts (lots and lots of concerts), volunteering, reading and playing with her rescue kitten, Samantha (who rescued who, right?).