The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike may finally be coming to an end. On Sunday the WGA Negotiating Committee announced that it reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), 146 days after the strike initially began.
"We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional — with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership," the Committee said.
Exactly what these gains are isn't yet clear. The Committee declined to share details regarding the exact terms of the tentative deal, stating that the precise wording of the new contract is still being negotiated. Even so, it appears wholeheartedly optimistic about this new agreement.
"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," said the Committee in an open letter to WGA members.
"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."
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Is the WGA strike over?
Though certainly a promising development, this tentative deal doesn't mean writers will immediately be returning to work on Monday. The WGA strike has not been called off, so is still ongoing while the Committee and AMPTP negotiate the new agreement's wording. Picketing is suspended however, with writers encouraged to instead join the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) protests in support.
Even after the wording has been finalised, there are several more steps before the tentative deal is adopted and the WGA strike called off. Once the draft agreement has been written up, it will have to pass several rounds of votes by the Committee, the WGA West Board, and the WGA East Council, including one on whether to send it to the WGA's members for a vote. There would also be a vote on whether and when to lift the strike, which could enable writers to return to work prior to the deal being officially ratified.
These leadership votes are currently scheduled to go ahead on Tuesday, provided the draft is complete. But if all goes well, the historic US writer's strike could soon be over, making it just a matter of getting a good deal for the actors too.