After nearly 150 days, a battle has been won.
Writers across the country have stood on the picket lines advocating for their beliefs and what they deserve from multi-billion dollar companies within the industry. This strike set a revolutionary tone and message towards big executive studios that they would no longer be silenced or unfairly compensated for their work. According to CNBC, “Hollywood scribes initiated a work stoppage in early May as negotiations broke down with studios including Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. Discovery. Television and film writers sought protections against the use of artificial intelligence, in addition to increases in compensation for streamed content.” Although big executive studios may have assumed that the writers’ strike would die down and they would fall in line with new enforced policies, the writers and supporters never backed down.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have resumed talks since last week in regards to a tentative deal that would end months of strike and loss of profit. The WGA negotiation committee released a statement to its members detailing the success of their combined efforts. “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,” they said. “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.” This preliminary contract is a symbol of restoration and trust among the alliances they have created. WGA leadership also noted that the strike has not been officially commenced until the agreement is ratified.
The members of the guild are prepared to return to their beloved crafts under the expectation that they’ve brought a system to justice. As President Joe Biden headed to the United Auto Workers’ Picket line, he released a statement in support of the WGA strikers’ mission. “This agreement, including assurances related to artificial intelligence, did not come easily,” he said. “But its formation is a testament to the power of collective bargaining. There simply is no substitute for employers and employees coming together to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement that makes a business stronger and secures the pay, benefits, and dignity that workers deserve.” As the world watches the WGA strike nearing an end, the focus is drawn to the SAG-AFTRA strike next. Hopefully, both parties will be able to reach the ratified deals they deserve. Hollywood hasn’t been the same since.
by Kori Barnes, University of Southern California
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