After weeks of tense negotiations, the WGA has prevailed, securing better conditions for writers working in Hollywood and avoiding a strike that would put good writers out of business and likely ruin at least one season of television.
We’ve been waiting with bated breath for the verdict of the negotiations between the Writers’ Guild of America and the AMPTP. And just after the previous deal expired at midnight, May 2, a new three-year deal has been reached!
The tl;dr of it all is: the conditions for writers working on U.S. film and TV series will improve, the union will not be going on strike, and the coming entertainment season won’t be affected.
Anyone around for the 2008 Writers’ Strike probably remembers the severe repercussions the strike had on the industry, the ripple effects of which are still felt today: more than 50 network shows had shortened and/or rushed seasons following the 2008 strike including 30 Rock, Supernatural and How I Met Your Mother, and the strike is credited for essentially ruining a number of beloved series including Heroes and Pushing Daisies.
But despite the impact it would have on their livelihoods, a stunning 96.3% of WGA members had voted in favor of a strike if necessary, the need for renegotiated deals necessary in a TV landscape that has changed significantly and positioned writers terribly.
The deal struck Monday night is only tentative, with the WGA noting that while they have “made gains in minimums across the board,” there is still much work to be done before writers get truly fair deals in Hollywood.
The WGA negotiation committee has made significant process in several areas though, most notably in terms of writers’ rights when it comes to short seasons in television (an increasingly prevalent working condition). The WGA can report to, “winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.”
They also won “a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.” And, for the first time ever, the WGA can also claim job protection on parental leave!
The WGA negotiating committee’s statement concludes:
“Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not. But because we had the near-unanimous backing of you and your fellow writers, we were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept.
That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives. e will, of course, provide more details in the next few days. But until then, we just wanted to thank you – and congratulate you. Your voices were indeed heard.”
Here’s the team that made it all happen:
— Ellen Stutzman (@ellenstutzman) May 2, 2017
Congratulations first and foremost to the writers working in Hollywood, and also to all the fans of good TV and film who won’t have to miss out on quality content in the seasons ahead!
Read the full story on Deadline.