The Writers Guild of America Strike is Over! What You Need to Know
After nearly 5 months, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced they had reached a tentative deal with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which represents major studios, on September 26, 2023, making it the second longest strike in Hollywood history. On October 9, 2023, 99% of WGA membership voted to officially bring the strike to an end. WGA described the deal as “exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”
Below we break down the major deal points:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Under the deal, AI cannot be used to undermine a writer’s credit, and companies must inform writers if material has been generated by AI. Further, writers have the right to use AI in their process if the company they are working for agrees, and the writer follows company policies. However, employers cannot require writers to use AI.
- Streaming Residuals
Previously, streaming residuals were difficult for writers to obtain. Now, streaming services must share streaming data with WGA, and writers for successful streaming shows will receive bonuses. Bonuses will be provided if a show is watched by 20% or more of a streamer’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release.
- Minimum Work-Periods
The agreement also ensures longer periods of work for writers in development rooms and post-greenlight rooms. Staffs on shows in initial development will be employed for at least 10 consecutive weeks. After a show is greenlit, the minimum staff must be guaranteed at least 20 weeks or the duration of the post-greenlight room, whichever is shorter.
- Compensation Increases
Depending on the position of the writer, there is a raise between 3.5% and 5%.
- Minimum Staffing Levels
The writers also got the terms they sought that shows intended to run at least 13 episodes will have at least six writers on staff. The amount shifts based on the number of episodes.
While The WGA settlement is a milestone, Hollywood will not immediately return to business as usual. Although writing may resume, the SAG-AFTRA actors’ union remains on strike. At issue in the SAG-AFTRA strike are questions of minimum wages for performers, protections against AI replacing human performances, and compensation that reflects the value actors bring to the streaming services.