Hollywood Strike | Writers vote to approve contract deal that ended strike as actors negotiate

The Writers Guild of America announced on Monday that 99% of the 8,525 members who cast ballots voted to ratify the deal

Updated - October 10, 2023 01:21 pm IST

Published - October 10, 2023 01:13 pm IST

Picketers demonstrate outside Paramount Pictures studio on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, in Los Angeles.

Picketers demonstrate outside Paramount Pictures studio on Wednesday, September 27, 2023, in Los Angeles. | Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello

Hollywood writers have voted almost unanimously to approve the contract agreement reached by their union leaders that ended a strike after nearly five months, while actors remain in negotiations to find a way out of their own strike.

The Writers Guild of America announced Monday that 99% of the 8,525 members who cast ballots voted to ratify the deal.

The agreement was widely touted as a win by leaders, and widely praised by members, with major gains in payment, size of show staff and control of artificial intelligence in scripts. The result of the vote taken over the past week was never really in doubt.

“Together we were able to accomplish what many said was impossible only six months ago," Meredith Stiehm, president of the WGA-East, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, nearly three months after their strike began, leaders of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists were back in contract negotiations with studios on Monday, a week after talks restarted.

Explained | Why are Hollywood’s actors and writers on strike at the same after decades?

Unlike the marathon night-and-weekend sessions that brought an end to the writers’ strike, the actors and their employers are moving more methodically in their talks, and it was not clear how much progress was being made.

Writers guild leaders urged studios to grant actors' demands and said their members would picket alongside them until a deal was reached.

The writers' new contract runs through May 1, 2026, three years after their previous contract expired and they went on strike. After negotiations that saw direct involvement from the chiefs of Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery, a tentative deal was struck on September 24. Two days later, when the board members voted to approve the agreement and send it to members, the strike was declared over and writers were released to work.

They began almost immediately, with late-night talk shows back on the air within a week and other shows, including Saturday Night Live, soon to follow.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streaming services and production companies in strike talks, congratulated writers for their vote, saying in a statement that the contract “represents meaningful gains and protections for writers” and that it “is important progress for our industry that writers are back to work.”

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