The WGA leadership and AMTPT (the studios, that is) came to a breakthrough agreement last night, but the WGA leadership warns: the strike is not over until “the last “i” is dotted”. Now, the lawyers come into play and the legally drafted contract, called the Memorandum of Agreement, will be sent to the Negotiating Committee to vote to send the document to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council. Only after these hurdles are passed will the membership get the contract to vote on.
In a statement issued by the Writers Guild of America the most important paragraph reads: “We can say, with great pride, that the deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership”.
What does that entail? The writers basically have had similar demands to the actors: pay correction, residuals paid on work for streamers and a convincing resolution on AI now and in the future, meaning that artificial intelligence cannot replace the pen of human creativity. According to sources close to the virtual negotiations, there was still some “fine tuning to be done on AI”.
What complicates the issue is even if there’s an end to the writers’ strike, Hollywood is not going to be able to get back to work without actors. And achieving an agreement between SAG and the studios is even more complicated than with the Writers Guild, especially with the sticking point of AI.
The strikes have been going on for months now, and Los Angeles has already lost 5 billion dollars, adding the ancillary businesses’ loss, such as hotels, restaurants, makeup artists, hair stylists, drivers, security people, FedEx and messenger services, junket producers, PR representing talent and on and on.
If the writers reach a final agreement this week, the first to go back to work will be the late night TV talk shows, but even that will be awhile.
The WGA, we heard, made a request that the writers don’t return to work until their peers, the actors achieve a similar agreement with the studios, in the name of solidarity.
Stay tuned for updates.