Hollywood’s writer’s union reached a preliminary labor agreement with significant studios on Sunday, a deal expected to end one of two strikes that have halted most film and television production and cost the California economy billions. It’s the first time in the industry’s history that two lengthy strikes have co-occurred. The pact, which still must be approved by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) leadership and by union members, would be in effect for three years.
The AMPTP represents the major studios that makeup Hollywood’s entertainment industry, and the WGA is expected to share details of the deal on Tuesday. After that, the WGA’s leaders must approve it in a vote, which will be held after leadership has agreed on the final contract language. The strike has been going on for 146 days.
WGA West assistant executive director Ellen Stutzman, who led the talks for writers, emailed strike captains to tell them of the new proposal. She congratulated the union’s members for their “146 days of incredible strength, resiliency and solidarity.” The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, said in a statement that the state’s “world-class workforce” deserved to have its “unique talent to create the movies and TV shows that we all love to watch.
The pact is expected to resolve many of the main issues that have caused the strike, including compensation for writers and how large the writing staff should be. It could allow the resumption of scripted shows such as NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and reboot some films, including Disney’s upcoming “Star Wars” spinoff, “The Rise of Skywalker.”
It would also give directors and producers more freedom to cast actors in roles written by writers. That should allow some movies currently in production, including Warner Bros.’ “Deadpool 3,” to avoid delays that would have been incurred without the writers’ agreement.
A successful ratification vote would allow the AMPTP to turn its attention to resuming talks with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, which includes the 65,000 actors who have joined the writers on the picket lines since mid-July. The writers have asked that they return to work once SAG-AFTRA does so, a reflection of the strong solidarity between the two groups.
The other major Hollywood labor dispute, with the Teamsters who drive trucks, wrangle animals, manage locations, and much more, has yet to be resolved. The president of the IATSE union has said workers may choose to honor the SAG-AFTRA strike, but they’re not required to do so. Now in its third month, that strike has already cost the industry more than $5 billion. It’s also slowed tourism and hurt small businesses in sectors like restaurants.