Thousands of film and television writers will be able to go back to work as of Wednesday morning after the Writers Guild of America, East and West, finalized a tentative agreement with the film and television industry after a nearly five-month strike.
The WGA called an end to the strike after securing sweeping wins that largely met many of the guild’s demands. The deal — which must still be ratified by union members — includes strict regulations for the use of artificial intelligence on covered projects, including provisions that AI will not write or rewrite any literary material.
Most salary minimums will increase by 5% upon ratification, with more increases in the following two years, and there will be dramatic increases in residuals from streaming services.
“This allows writers to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval,” the union said in a statement, calling the deal “exceptional, with gains and protections for members in every sector of the business.”
The WGA first told members it had reached a tentative deal with studio executives on Sunday. The strike brought the film and television industry to a standstill, putting an end to almost all production for months, which will likely cost studios hundreds of millions of dollars.
Writers had picketed in front of major studios and corporate headquarters almost daily on both coasts, voicing their ire in New York and Los Angeles and drawing the support of the White House. The union had painted the strike as a means to claw back a piece of mammoth corporate profits that came at the expense of the writers who make shows come to life.
The U.S. entertainment industry has faced a reckoning this summer as actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists have also been on strike since July. Studios will need to reach a separate deal with SAG-AFTRA.