The end is nigh… or, at least, that’s what it looks like for movie and television writers, with news breaking Sunday that a tentative agreement has been reached between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on terms for a new three-year contract, meaning that the writers strike of 2023 might be close to finishing as it approaches its 150th day.
In a letter to members released Sunday evening, the WGA described the deal as it currently stands as “exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.” The letter noted that the agreement needed to be finalized, at which point it would be sent to the WGA West Board and the WGA East Council for approval; once approved, it will be voted upon by the membership of both groups. At the same time, both groups will vote to life the restraining order on work, effectively ending the strike.
“To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild,” the letter notes. “We are still on strike until then.”
The latter made a point to credit the agreement as being possible primarily due to the Guild’s members. “What we have won in this contract — most particularly, everything we have gained since [the strike started on] May 2nd — is due to the willingness of the 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,” it read. “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.”
Those union siblings issued statements in support of the news on Sunday. Actors guild SAG-AFTRA released a statement saying in part, “SAG-AFTRA congratulates the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency, and solidarity on the picket lines. While we look forward to reviewing the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement, we remain committed to achieving the necessary terms for our members… We remain on strike in our TV/Theatrical contract and continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand.”
(It should be noted that the WGA letter encourages members to join SAG-AFTRA picket lines, now that WGA pickets have been suspended.)
The Directors Guild of America, which made a new three-year deal with the AMPTP in May of this year, also released a statement congratulating the WGA. “We have been proud to support the writers in their fight for a fair deal and look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement. Now it’s time for the AMPTP to get back to the table with SAG-AFTRA and address the needs of performers” it read in part.
The Motion Picture Teamsters had their own statement as well, congratulating the WGA and adding, “The antiquated bargaining playbook of the AMPTP caused these negotiations to be intentionally dragged on longer than necessary. Their tactics have left many questioning the function, effectiveness and longevity of this multi-employer bargaining entity.”
The strike isn’t over yet — the agreement needs to be finalized, then approved by WGA members — but this is the clearest sign yet that progress is being made and an end is in sight. Keep paying attention to Popverse for more on this story.
We break down the WGA strike and the issues behind it over here.