WGA reaches tentative deal with AMPTP

By MixDex Article may include affiliate links

The WGA unions have reached a tentative deal for its minimum basic agreement, or MBA, with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers that could end one of two major Hollywood strikes rocking the industry.

The parties reached a deal Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

Key details about the deal were not released, but the union says full contract details be published if WGA West and WGA East boards approve them. That vote is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2023.

Members of both unions, who negotiate together with AMPTP, would then have a chance to review the terms of the contract and vote.

Both sides had reportedly been sparring on residual payments, minimum salary requirements, work conditions and issues with artificial intelligence. Streaming productions were a particular area of concern because they often pay differently.

Assuming the deal is ratified by its membership, AMPTP still has to finalize a deal with SAG-AFTRA, which went on strike after WGA.

A signed WGA deal could pressure SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP to negotiate an end to the strike.

Studios that are part of AMPTP reportedly had requested that WGA writers go back to work as soon as possible once the deal is finalized, but it appears WGA will continue to sit out until a SAG-AFTRA deal is reached, putting even more pressure of the actors’ union and AMPTP to get a deal closed.

Writers could have, in theory, gone back to work shortly after the new deal is ratified, which could help spur pre-production and writing processes for shows in preparation for a potential SAG-AFTRA deal.

However, it appears WGA is leaning toward not even giving AMPTP the luxury of being able to get production back on track unless it also reaches a deal with SAG-AFTRA.

The dual strikes have put thousands of behind-the-scenes and on-camera performers out of work. It is also put stress on the industry’s economics, particularly in the Los Angeles area. The unions have been providing support to out-of-work writers and actors who are experiencing financial hardships were they can.

The full text of WGA’s announcement to members is below.

Dear members,

We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.

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. 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.

We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.

What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again – one last time.

Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.

If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval.

Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification.

To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. 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.

Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us — and had to fend off rumors — during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes.

As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.