Writers Guild of America reaches deal after 146 days

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has ended its strike after 146 days as an agreement is tentatively reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

On 2 May 2023, the WGA – aka the people who write your favourite films, TV shows, talk-show segments, awards show scripts, and everything in between – went on strike, calling for a new contract to ensure writers are better paid by Hollywood studios.

The union had demanded regulation of the use of artificial intelligence, a guaranteed living wage, and decent residuals from streaming services.

Writers walk the picket line on the second day of the television and movie writers' strike outside of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California.
The WGA has been on strike for just under five months. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty)

When the AMPTP refused to meet the WGA’s demands, they went on strike.

Almost every form of entertainment was affected by the strike, from late-night talk shows to network TV series. And some of the biggest names in the business almost risked their reputations as a result.

Just under five months later, the WGA announced on Sunday (24 September) that they had reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP.

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This came on day five of resumed negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP for the first time in months. It is understood that the CEOs of the biggest entertainment corporations, such as Disney’s Bob Iger, and Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, were present at negotiations.

The finer details of language are still being ironed out, but this is an incredibly promising sign.

The strike started on 2 May. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

The WGA said in a statement to members: “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.

“What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted.”

Does this mean the strike is over?

Not just yet.

While picketing can now be suspended, the WGA has urged its members not to return to work until the final details are confirmed.

“To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild,” the email to union members reads.

“We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.”

So, actors are still on strike?

The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – or SAG-AFTRA – are still on strike.

Over 150,000 actors are represented in the SAG-AFTRA strike, which launched on 14 June.

Similar to the WGA strike, SAG-AFTRA is calling for studios to regulate the future use of artificial intelligence and to give actors 2 per cent of the total revenue generated by streaming shows.

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