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Late Sunday night, the Writers Guild of America West (WGAWest) reached an agreement after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). An official vote confirmed the deal late Tuesday.
The tweet Sunday read, “This was made possible by the enduring solidarity of WGA members and extraordinary support of our union siblings who stood with us for over 146 days.”
The Writers Guild wrote to members stating they had reached a three-year contract, saying, “We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional—with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.”
After the WGA picketing ended on Sunday night, the union encouraged its members to join picket lines for the ongoing actor's strike with SAG-AFTRA, the actor’s union, until they could return to work.
Leadership votes Tuesday confirmed the deal is in place, and the writer’s strike is officially over. This was the first writers’ strike in 15 years. 11,500 entertainment writers pledged to stop working until a deal is reached.
According to WarnerBros, the strike could wipe out as much as $500 million in earnings this year as virtually all production has shut down since the actors joined the strike in July. States and local businesses have suffered billions of dollars in losses due to the strikes.
In a letter written in March by the Writers Guild, they reported that “median weekly writer-producer pay has declined 4% over the last decade. Adjusting for inflation, the decline is 23%.” This decline has come while company profits and spending on content have grown.
Many of these changes surround the addition of streaming to the entertainment market. “The companies have leveraged the streaming transition to underpay writers, creating more precarious, lower-paid models for writers’ work,” the Guild writes, “Our 2023 negotiations must significantly address writer compensation.”
Writers’ and actors’ unions have emphasized protecting “human-created work.”
“As the technology to create without creators emerges, star actors fear they will lose control of their lucrative likenesses,” The Associated Press writes. “Unknown actors fear they’ll be replaced altogether. Writers fear they’ll have to share credit or lose credit to machines.”
The Guild’s proposal to regulate the use of artificial intelligence on MBA-covered projects where “AI can’t write or rewrite literary material; can’t be used as source material; and MBA-covered material can’t be used to train AI” was initially rejected and countered by the studios with an annual meeting to discuss advancements in technology. Many industries will soon face a similar issue on AI, which puts Hollywood in an interesting position to serve as a guide for future discussions surrounding automation.
Due to the WGA agreement, SAG-AFTRA may now hold more negotiating power. Following the WGA deal news Sunday, they tweeted, “We look forward to reviewing the terms of the WGA and AMPTP’s tentative agreement. And we remain ready to resume our negotiations with the AMPTP as soon as they are prepared to engage on our proposals in a meaningful way.”
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