Writers Guild of America Reaches Contract Agreement, Averting Writers’ Strike
Early Tuesday morning, the Writers Guild of America reached a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The deal averted a strike of workers on the East and West coasts, that was planned for Tuesday if no settlement was reached, as eligible members voted 96% in favor of striking.
Writers sought many provisions that catered to the changing landscape of television. They proposed pay rates on par with broadcast network series for shows that stream on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as bigger residual payments for reruns of old TV shows and movies that stream on such sites. The tentative agreement includes increases in pay TV residuals, high-budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in pay TV.
The agreement also addresses a major issue causing writers to work more and be paid less: networks are ordering less episodes per season, while at the same time, individual episodes are taking longer to produce on average. In the tentative agreement, the union negotiated a 2.4 week standard for each episodic fee, with writer-producers now being owned additional payment if production continues past that time.
The union also negotiated contribution increases for their healthcare plan and, for the first time, job protection for parental leave. The agreement will now be sent to the union’s Executive Board, to be followed by the membership, for ratification.