Hollywood Writers Vote Approval Of Contract Deal That Ended Strike While Actors Negotiate

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Picketers carry signs on the picket line outside Netflix on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, in Los Angeles. Hollywood’s writers strike was declared over Tuesday night when board members from their union approved a contract agreement with studios, bringing the industry at least partly back from a historic halt in production. The actors strike continues in their bid to get better pay and working conditions.

There were almost unanimous votes among Hollywood writers to approve the contract agreement reached by their union leaders that ended a strike after nearly five months, while actors remain in negotiations to find a way out of their own strike.

The Writers Guild of America announced Monday that 99% of the 8,525 members who cast ballots voted to ratify the deal.

The agreement was widely touted as a win by leaders, and widely praised by members, with major gains in payment, size of show staff and control of artificial intelligence in scripts. The result of the vote taken over the past week was never really in doubt.

Said Meredith Stiehm, president of the WGA-East, in a statement: “Together we were able to accomplish what many said was impossible only six months ago”.

Meanwhile, nearly three months after their strike began, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists were back in contract negotiations with studios on Monday, a week after talks restarted.

Unlike the marathon night-and-weekend sessions that brought an end to the writers strike, the actors and their employers are moving more methodically in their talks, and it was not clear how much progress was being made.

Writers guild leaders urged studios to grant actors’ demands, saying their members would picket alongside them until a deal was reached.

The writers’ new contract runs thorough May 1, 2026, three years after their previous contract expired and they went on strike. After negotiations that saw direct involvement from the chiefs of Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery, a tentative deal was struck on September 24. Two days later, when the board members voted to approve the agreement and send it to members, the strike was declared over and writers were released to work.

They began almost immediately, with late-night talk shows back on the air within a week and other shows, including “Saturday Night Live”, soon to follow.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streaming services and production companies in strike talks, congratulated writers for their vote, saying in a statement that the contract “represents meaningful gains and protections for writers” and that it “is important progress for our industry that writers are back to work”.

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