Los Angeles: The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has officially ended their strike after 148 days following a tentative agreement with the Association of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) with a new contract.
The picket line officially ended at midnight September 27 as the strikers officially called off their protest.
The new agreement will let all the members of the WGA go back to their respective offices before a final ratification vote is held from October 2-9.
The WGA will hold member meetings on both coasts this week in person and on zoom to discuss the details of the contract. Given the enthusiastic endorsement of the WGA negotiating committee, it is expected to be easily ratified by strike-weary members.
The vote to lift the strike order followed unanimous votes by the WGA’s negotiating committee, the WGA West board and WGA East council to send the contract to members for ratification.
The WGA West will hold a member meeting on September 27 at 7 p.m. PST at the Hollywood Palladium.
The WGA East will convene the same night at Manhattan Center at 6 p.m. EST. Zoom meetings will be held the next day at 5 p.m. PST and Friday at 11 a.m. PST.
The unanimous decision to end the strike comes two days after the writers and Hollywood studios successfully concluded talks for a new three-year deal on September 24.
Following a marathon negotiation session, the two sides were able to find compromises on several key points, a critical one of which was AI overuse in the creative process, minimum staffing requirements for writer’s rooms and streaming residuals.
“We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership,” the WGA said in a statement announcing the tentative deal September 24.
WGA and AMPTP have yet to release the details of the tentative agreement, which WGA membership will vote to ratify in the coming days.
The guild’s agreement as gathered by Variety states the following guidelines of the new deal:
– AI can’t write or rewrite literary material, and AI-generated material will not be considered source material under the MBA, meaning that AI-generated material can’t be used to undermine a writer’s credit or separated rights.
– A writer can choose to use AI when performing writing services, if the company consents and provided that the writer follows applicable company policies, but the company can’t require the writer to use AI software (e.g., ChatGPT) when performing writing services.
– The Company must disclose to the writer if any materials given to the writer have been generated by AI or incorporate AI-generated material.
– The WGA reserves the right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by MBA or other law.
The WGA’s vote to end the strike order puts an official end to the work stoppage, which was still in effect as of Sunday, when the WGA told membership: “To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorised to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week. “
But while the WGA strikes may have ended, the picketing lines at SAG-AFTRA are ongoing, who are also holding a strike against the AMPTP for more than 75 days now.