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Hollywood Writers on Verge of Ending 5-Month Strike After Tentative Deal

by Rahil M
0 comment

This breakthrough comes after five intense days of negotiations between representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and a coalition of studios, streaming services, and production companies.

Hollywood writers are on the brink of concluding their nearly five-month strike, following a tentative agreement with studios, as announced by the writers’ union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on Sunday night. However, the full details of the agreement are pending formal approval.

This breakthrough comes after five intense days of negotiations between representatives of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and a coalition of studios, streaming services, and production companies. The strike will only officially end once the guild’s board and members have granted their approval.

While the specific terms of the deal have not been disclosed, the WGA described it as “exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership” in an email sent to its members.

High-profile industry executives, including Bob Iger, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, and NBCUniversal Studio Group Chair Donna Langley, joined the negotiations during the week. Their involvement played a pivotal role in breaking the months-long deadlock.

California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his support for the striking workers, acknowledging their concerns over the impact of the strike on their careers and livelihoods. He expressed gratitude that the two sides have come to an agreement.

The tentative deal comes days before the strike would have surpassed the record set by the union’s 1988 strike, making it the longest in the guild’s history and Hollywood’s longest strike in decades. Union leaders will vote on the full terms of the new three-year contract on Tuesday.

Late-night television shows are expected to resume production shortly, with some possibly returning to the air within days. However, Hollywood actors, who joined the industry’s historic “double strike” in July, remain on strike. As a result, many new film and television projects will likely remain on hold, and crew members affected by the work stoppage will remain unemployed.

While the ongoing strikes have impacted various crew members and small businesses supporting film and television production, unions representing other affected workers, such as the Teamsters and the stagehands and technical workers’ union, have shown solidarity with the writers and actors throughout the strike.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass welcomed the tentative agreement, emphasizing the need to revitalize the city’s entertainment industry, a significant component of LA’s economy. She expressed hope that a similar resolution will soon be reached for SAG-AFTRA.

The 146-day writers’ strike was driven by frustrations among Hollywood workers regarding their share of profits in the era of online streaming. It also highlighted concerns about the potential threat posed by artificial intelligence to the entertainment industry. Initially, some industry figures, including Bob Iger, deemed the writers’ and actors’ demands unrealistic. However, the strike underscored the unity among Hollywood unions and garnered widespread public support for the workers’ demands.

The strike’s economic impact was felt by various workers in the industry, including camera operators, carpenters, production assistants, and other crew members, as well as businesses like caterers, costume suppliers, and florists that support film and television production. Throughout the strike, A-list Hollywood actors publicly voiced their support and solidarity, making substantial donations to strike funds and organizing fundraising efforts for crew healthcare.

While the strike’s official conclusion awaits final approval, the Writers’ Guild has instructed its members not to return to work yet. Picketing by the WGA has been suspended, but writers are encouraged to continue supporting SAG-AFTRA on their picket lines, which are set to resume on Tuesday. In the coming week, the entertainment industry is expected to witness active picketing and continued labor movement demonstrations as writers, actors, and other workers remain steadfast in their pursuit of fair working conditions and compensation.

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