Hollywood writers union has announced that its members may resume work on Wednesday, pending their decision on whether to ratify a three-year contract offering salary increases and various safeguards, including those related to artificial intelligence usage.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) leadership unanimously voted to conclude the strike, which had been ongoing since May, and members now have until October 9 to cast their votes on the proposed agreement. Reports estimate the value of this deal to be $233 million per year.
During the Hollywood writers strike, film and television writers failed to reach an agreement with major studios, including Netflix, Walt Disney, and Warner Bros Discovery. However, it seems writers have achieved comprehensive concessions, including pay raises over the contract’s three-year span, increased health and pension contributions, and provisions regarding the use of AI.
Under the new contract, studios have committed to regular meetings with the guild to discuss AI’s role in film development and production. While the contract does not explicitly prohibit the use of AI for content generation, writers can take legal action if studios use their work to train AI.
Additionally, writers have the option to employ AI when creating scripts, but studios cannot mandate the software’s use.
In another significant victory, the guild secured minimum staffing guarantees in writers’ rooms, which will depend on the number of episodes per season. Minimum pay rates will increase by more than 12% over the contract’s duration.
Residuals for using TV shows and films outside the United States will also increase, and the guild will establish a bonus system for the most popular streaming shows.
Members of the Writers Guild expressed their satisfaction with the outcome, highlighting the importance of their collective action. Some industry figures, like writer Adam Conover, praised the solidarity that led to the concessions, while television writer David Slack emphasized the strike’s necessity and effectiveness.
With the strike’s conclusion, daytime and late-night talk shows are poised to make their return to the airwaves. Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” announced his show’s return with fresh episodes, ending a period of uncertainty during the strike. Maher and Drew Barrymore had previously faced criticism for planning to resume their talk shows before the strike’s resolution.
However, it’s worth noting that the end of the WGA strike does not signal a return to normalcy in Hollywood, as the SAG-AFTRA actors union remains on strike since walking out in July.