The nearly five-month Hollywood writers strike was declared over on Sept. 26 after board members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) approved a new contract with studios.
The tentative deal came after union bosses said earlier this week that their roughly 11,500 writers had reached an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) following months of back-and-forth negotiations over improved salary, residuals for streaming programs, and protections against the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) in the film industry.
"Eligible voters will be able to vote from October 2nd through October 9th, and will receive ballot and ratification materials when the vote opens," union leaders said.
Union leaders also voted unanimously to authorize its members to return to work, according to the statement.
Movie Productions HaltedThe announcement is welcome relief to industry leaders following a 148-day work stoppage that effectively paralyzed productions across the industry, affecting everything from streaming services to movie production.
WGAW has been on strike since May 2, while another union, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which represents more than 160,000 actors, began striking on July 14.
As for residuals, union members will receive a "bonus equal to 50 percent of the fixed domestic and foreign residual" if the show or film is "viewed by 20 percent or more of the service’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release or the first 90 days of any subsequent exhibition year."
That bonus structure affects projects released on or after Jan. 1, 2024.
'Exceptional' DealElsewhere, the deal establishes regulations for the use of AI, including banning the technology from being used to write or rewrite literary material and prohibiting studios from requiring writers to use it. Union members can, however, choose to use AI when performing writing services if the company consents.
The new contract, which also includes numerous other benefits and employment protections, is set to expire in May 2026 and is valued at about $233 million, according to the WGA, far more than the $86 million that the AMPTP had offered.
On Sept. 24, the WGA announced that it had reached a tentative minimum basic agreement with the AMPTP, calling the deal "exceptional" with "meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership."
"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."
So far, the AMPTP has yet to publish a detailed statement regarding the new agreement but acknowledged this week that a deal had been reached.