Writers in the US are praising a “tentative” deal that has been reached with Hollywood studio bosses which could mark the end of a strike that has lasted many months.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced the deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), the group which represents studios, streaming services and producers in negotiations, after 146 days on the picket line.
More than 11,000 WGA members have been on strike since May 2 over issues including pay and the threat of artificial intelligence (AI), however the terms of the new contract must be approved by the guild’s board and members before the strike officially ends.
On Monday, US comedian, writer and TV presenter Adam Conover, who wrote and starred in The G Word on Netflix, tweeted: “We did it. We have a tentative deal.
“Over the coming days, we’ll discuss and vote on it, together, as a democratic union. But today, I want to thank every single WGA member, and every fellow worker who stood with us in solidarity. You made this possible.”
US comedian, writer and chat show host Larry Wilmore reacted to the news on Twitter writing: “Finally!!!”
Alex Zaragoza, a writer on Amazon Freevee series Primo, said she reacted to the news by “crying, screaming, throwing up, (and) crying again”.
The WGA and AMPTP have reached a tentative agreement. This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who stood with us for over 146 days. More details coming after contract language is finalized. #WGAstrike pic.twitter.com/VSpgsHdYVk
— Writers Guild of America, East (@WGAEast) September 25, 2023
She tweeted: “This strike has been so hard. Necessary and invigorating, and really f****** hard. But we did it! We fought together.
“Thank you thank you thank you to all of our strike captains who have held us down at every picket these last 146 days. Kept us hydrated, informed, sunblocked, safe from cars, and feeling encouraged. Love y’all!!”
Writer Caroline Renard of Disney’s Secrets Of Sulphur Springs, was also among those celebrating the agreement news.
She tweeted: “We got a deal. That was the hardest I’ve worked in forever. Captain signing off!”
Thank you thank you thank you to all of our strike captains who have held us down at every picket these last 146 days. Kept us hydrated, informed, sunblocked, safe from cars, and feeling encouraged. Love y’all!!
— alex zaragoza (@byalexzaragoza) September 25, 2023
US President Joe Biden said the “assurances related to artificial intelligence did not come easily” and was a “testament to the power of collective bargaining”.
“There simply is no substitute for employers and employees coming together to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement that makes a business stronger and secures the pay, benefits and dignity that workers deserve,” he added in the statement.
“I urge all employers to remember that all workers – including writers, actors and autoworkers – deserve a fair share of the value their labour helped create.”
Announcing the deal, days before the strike was set to become the longest in the union’s history, the WGA said: “What we have won in this contract – most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2 – is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days.
We got a deal. That was the hardest I’ve worked in forever. Captain signing off!
— Caroline “WGA Captain on Strike” Renard (@carolinerenard_) September 25, 2023
“It is the leverage generated by your strike, in concert with the extraordinary support of our union siblings, that finally brought the companies back to the table to make a deal.”
As a result of the agreement, shows such as The Drew Barrymore Show could return to the air within days.
However, talks have not yet resumed between studios and striking actors who are part of Sag-Aftra (the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists).
The union, which represents around 160,000 members of the industry, has been on strike since July 14, causing a major stalling of multiple Hollywood productions.
The SAG-AFTRA Negotiating Committee congratulates the WGA Negotiating Committee.
To our fellow union siblings who serve on the WGA Negotiating Committee, we extend our heartfelt congratulations on securing a tentative agreement with the AMPTP.
— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) September 25, 2023
It tweeted: “To our fellow union siblings who serve on the WGA Negotiating Committee, we extend our heartfelt congratulations on securing a tentative agreement with the AMPTP.
“We applaud your dedication and unwavering solidarity over the last five months and are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as creative partners in the entertainment industry.”
The British writers guild also sent congratulations to its “sister union” on reaching a tentative deal.
WGGB (the Writers’ Guild Of Great Britain) chairwoman Lisa Holdsworth said: “In the past 146 days we’ve seen an extraordinary show of solidarity from writers and their union siblings on both sides of the Atlantic, and indeed around the world.
— The Writers' Guild (@TheWritersGuild) September 25, 2023
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response of our own membership in standing with their striking colleagues overseas – you have followed the WGA strike rules to the letter, turned out to the WGGB protest in London in the summer and sent a tsunami of support on social media.
“Some of you have even joined picket lines in the States. Your solidarity has counted and your voice has been heard – both by the Writers Guild of America and their members but also by the streamers, studios and producers who have witnessed this global display of collective action and have – finally – listened.”
Ms Holdsworth added that the union was looking forward to the details of the WGA deal and its “implications for UK writers”.