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Tags: hollywood | writers guild | strike | contract agreement

Hollywood Writers End Strike Ahead of Final Contract Vote

Tuesday, 26 September 2023 10:47 PM EDT

Hollywood's writers union said its members could return to work Wednesday while they decide whether to approve a three-year deal that provides pay raises and some protections regarding the use of artificial intelligence among other gains.

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) leadership voted unanimously to end the strike Wednesday, the guild said Tuesday night in a statement. The 11,500 members have until Oct. 9 to cast their votes on the proposed contract.

The WGA said the estimated value of the deal was $233 million a year.

Film and television writers walked off the job in May after failing to reach a deal with major studios, including Netflix, Walt Disney and Warner Bros Discovery .

Writers appeared to have won concessions across the board, with raises over the three years of the contract, increased health and pension contributions, and AI safeguards.

Under the agreement, the studios agreed to meet at least twice a year with the guild to discuss plans to use AI in film development and production.

The studios are not expressly prohibited from using AI to generate content. Writers, however, have the right to sue if their work is used to train AI.

Writers can choose to use AI when drafting scripts, but a company cannot require the use of the software. The studios also must disclose to a writer if any materials were generated by AI.

In other areas, the guild said it won guarantees of minimum staffing in writers’ rooms, a key issue for many of its members. Staffing will be determined by the number of episodes per season. Minimum pay rates will climb by more than 12% over three years.

Also, residuals will rise for the use of TV shows and movies outside of the United States and a bonus will be awarded for the most popular shows on streaming.

"These are essential protections that the companies told us, to our faces, that they would NEVER give us," writer Adam Conover, a member of the guild's negotiating committee, posted on X.

"But because of our solidarity, because they literally cannot make a dollar without us, they bent, then broke, and gave us what we deserve. WE WON."

Television writer David Slack said: "Our strike was necessary. Our strike was effective. Our strike is a victory."

The strike's end means daytime and late-night talk shows can return to the air. Bill Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time," said he would be back with fresh episodes starting Friday.

"My writers and Real Time are back!" Maher posted on X.

Maher and Drew Barrymore had angered writers by saying this month that their talk shows would return before the strike ended.

The end of the WGA strike does not return Hollywood to normal. The SAG-AFTRA actors union walked off the job in July and remains on strike.

© 2024 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.


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Hollywood's writers union said its members could return to work Wednesday while they decide whether to approve a three-year deal that provides pay raises and some protections regarding the use of artificial intelligence among other gains.
hollywood, writers guild, strike, contract agreement
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2023-47-26
Tuesday, 26 September 2023 10:47 PM
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