A long five days going back to the negotiation table, but a journey led by screenwriters in the Writers Guild of America (WGA) with reaching a tentative agreement with the studios and streamers, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), to end a strike that began on May 1st. Tentative sounds like it is: Picketing is suspended right now, but the strike continues until the contract of the deal is ratified.
While waiting to see the final print of the contract that has to be approved from both sides, one of the primary goals of the WGA was to craft a residual formula for streamers according to the Times, like Netflix, Max, Hulu, and Prime Video in which TV shows and movies that reach certain performance benchmarks are essentially given bonuses.
The formula includes the number of episodes in a season, that results into how many writers must be hired for the show, while yes, you guessed it, not relying on AI. It is an unanimous concern for both writers and actors as being the last details of the bargaining period.
“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 wrote in an email to its members. “What we have won in this contract—most particularly, everything we have gained since May 2nd—is due to the willingness of this membership to exercise its power, to demonstrate its solidarity, to walk side-by-side, to endure the pain and uncertainty of the past 146 days.”
Picketing may have been on hold, but writers will not be going to work just yet, The language of the contract has to be finalized, and the WGA negotiating committee will have to vote. If the votes pass it, 11,000 members of the WGA will decide to either accept or deny the terms of the contract. 3 years is how long the contract will last, and then it is up again for reapproval.
“To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild,” the WGA wrote in its statement. “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.”
If the writers return after all processes are moved forward with, their work cannot be performed without the talent of the actors, as SAG-AFTRA is still on strike since July. Actors have not been able to promote their work, due to the AMPTP's power. Releases are delayed and interviews with actors have not been in occurrence as some examples.
“SAG-AFTRA congratulates the WGA on reaching a tentative agreement with the AMPTP after 146 days of incredible strength, resiliency, and solidarity on the picket lines,” SAG-AFTRA said in a statement. “Since the day the WGA strike began, SAG-AFTRA members have stood alongside the writers on the picket lines. We remain on strike in our TV/Theatrical contract and continue to urge the studio and streamer CEOs and the AMPTP to return to the table and make the fair deal that our members deserve and demand.”
The streaming residual formula that the WGA accomplished should help lay the groundwork for a similar revenue-based residual system for SAG-AFTRA, according to the Times. At this time, the possible ending of the WGA strike is bringing in some hope that the studios will response quickly to negotiate with SAG-AFTRA too.