For fans of movies and TV everywhere, the longstanding national nightmare is over. Variety has confirmed the negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have come to an end and the two groups have reached an agreement in order to avoid the members of the WGA striking.
While the former contract ended at 12:01 a.m. PST, talks between the WGA and AMPTP kept going to avoid a strike and both sides agreed on a new deal around 1 a.m. PST.
The deal finally happened after both sides met on Sunday, an extremely rare happening, to try and come to agreement on a new deal before the contract expired. The two sides also met on Monday starting at 11 a.m. and worked throughout the day.
WGA West president didn’t exactly comment on the new contract that’s in place, but did say “I’m looking forward to going to sleep” when the news of the deal was released.
After news of the deal began to spread through Hollywood and beyond, the WGA released a memo to the members of the guild, which said:
Your Negotiating Committee is pleased to report that we have reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP that we can recommend for ratification.
In it, we made gains in minimums across the board – as well as contribution increases to our Health Plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in Options and Exclusivity.
We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.
We won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.
And, also for the first time ever, job protection on Parental Leave.
Did we get everything we wanted? No. Everything we deserve? Certainly not. But because we had the near-unanimous backing of you and your fellow writers, we were able to achieve a deal that will net this Guild’s members $130 million more, over the life of the contract, than the pattern we were expected to accept.
That result, and that resolve, is a testament to you, your courage, and your faith in us as your representatives.
We will, of course, provide more details in the next few days. But until then, we just wanted to thank you – and congratulate you. Your voices were indeed heard.
The deal is expected to last for the next three years, which is the traditional amount of time that previous deals have lasted.
The memo addresses the result of the main concerns of the WGA, which included executives adding more money into their health plans, which was dangerously close to being completely depleted. The new contract seems to also address better pay for low and middle rung writers who were writing for shows that didn’t run a “traditional” TV season, i.e.: instead of 22 to 24 episodes per season, shows were instead running for shorter seasons. With the old contract, writers could have potentially been writing episodes for a longer period of time while getting paid less. The new contract seems to start to fix part of this problem.
Next up for AMPTP is another round of negotiations, this time with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio and Artists. Their current contract expires on June 30.