Hollywood’s esteemed writers association, the Writers Guild of America (WGA), announced its members will recommence work as they deliberate over the ratification of a comprehensive three-year agreement. The accord encompasses notable pay increments and establishes checks on artificial intelligence utilization, among other benefits.
A unanimous vote by the WGA leadership on Wednesday heralded the cessation of the strike. Members, numbering 11,500, have the window till Oct. 9 to give their verdict on the prospective contract, which is pegged at a yearly value of $233 million.
The writers’ community had initiated their protest in May, consequent to inconclusive negotiations with premier studios such as Netflix, Walt Disney, and Warner Bros Discovery.
The drafted contract seems to resonate with writers’ demands, ensuring pay hikes over its tenure, fortified health and pension contributions, and, significantly, measures concerning AI.
As per the agreement specifics, biannual dialogues between studios and the guild on AI’s role in cinematic conceptualization and execution are mandated. While the accord doesn’t outrightly ban AI’s use for content creation, it bestows writers with the prerogative to litigate if AI employs their work for learning.
Moreover, writers retain the autonomy to decide on AI’s application in scriptwriting, with studios obligated to reveal AI-generated materials’ usage. Studios cannot impose AI tools on writers.
Further, the guild secured commitments for baseline staffing in the scriptwriters’ domains, contingent on episodic counts in a season. Minimum remuneration is poised to surge by over 12% within three years. Enhancements in residuals for overseas broadcast of content and bonuses for top-performing streaming content have also been ensured.
Adam Conover, a pivotal member of the guild’s negotiation panel, lauded the triumph on social platform X, expressing, “Through our collective might and the irrefutable fact that they’re incapacitated without us, they conceded, granting us our rightful dues. This is our victory!”
David Slack, a television scriptwriter, echoed this sentiment, affirming the strike’s necessity, effectiveness, and ultimate success.
The strike’s culmination signals the resumption of talk shows. HBO’s “Real Time” host, Bill Maher, expressed elation on social media, teasing the return of new episodes from Friday.
However, the WGA’s resolution doesn’t imply Hollywood’s complete revival. The actor’s union, SAG-AFTRA, which initiated its strike in July, is yet to reach an agreement.