After close to five months of labor dispute, the Writers Guild (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have reached a preliminary agreement, signaling a likely end to the writers’ strike.
This breakthrough comes after an exhaustive week of talks, resolving key sticking points such as the role of artificial intelligence and the composition of writing teams. Although the finer details are still under wraps, they will be made public prior to a vote by WGA members on the deal’s ratification.
The guild’s negotiating committee, led by Ellen Stutzman, will next evaluate whether to officially recommend this provisional deal. Subsequently, the governing boards of both WGA West and East will weigh in.
If they give the green light, the halt on work could be lifted, permitting writers to re-engage with their projects even as the ratification process is ongoing—a critical development for both the industry and the labor union. For the time being, the strike continues, albeit without active picketing.
Hollywood studios are eager to understand how quickly writers might resume work if the deal is ratified. The guild has indicated its intent to delay that return until SAG-AFTRA also finds common ground with AMPTP. This reflects a deep-seated sense of union solidarity, reminiscent of their first collective strike in 1960.
The cessation of the WGA strike will enable an immediate comeback for entertainment formats such as late-night comedy and daytime chat shows, which aren’t impacted by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. Yet, other productions like scripted series and films will continue to be on hold until the actors’ union finalizes its own agreement.
As this initial agreement brings a sigh of relief to Hollywood, the focus now pivots toward the official approval of the WGA deal and ongoing negotiations to end the 73-day actors’ strike. The financial toll of these strikes on California’s economy is estimated to be around $5 billion, adding urgency to these labor negotiations.
Read WGA’s message to members below:
We have reached a tentative agreement on a new 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.
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. 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.
We can say, with great pride, that this deal is exceptional – with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership.
What remains now is for our staff to make sure everything we have agreed to is codified in final contract language. And though we are eager to share the details of what has been achieved with you, we cannot do that until the last “i” is dotted. To do so would complicate our ability to finish the job. So, as you have been patient with us before, we ask you to be patient again – one last time.
Once the Memorandum of Agreement with the AMPTP is complete, the Negotiating Committee will vote on whether to recommend the agreement and send it on to the WGAW Board and WGAE Council for approval. The Board and Council will then vote on whether to authorize a contract ratification vote by the membership.
If that authorization is approved, the Board and Council would also vote on whether to lift the restraining order and end the strike at a certain date and time (to be determined) pending ratification. This would allow writers to return to work during the ratification vote, but would not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval.
Immediately after those leadership votes, which are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday if the language is settled, we will provide a comprehensive summary of the deal points and the Memorandum of Agreement. We will also convene meetings where members will have the opportunity to learn more about and assess the deal before voting on ratification.
To be clear, no one is to return to work until specifically authorized to by the Guild. We are still on strike until then. But we are, as of today, suspending WGA picketing. Instead, if you are able, we encourage you to join the SAG-AFTRA picket lines this week.
Finally, we appreciated your patience as you waited for news from us — and had to fend off rumors — during the last few days of the negotiation. Please wait for further information from the Guild. We will have more to share with you in the coming days, as we finalize the contract language and go through our unions’ processes.
As always, thank you for your support. You will hear from us again very soon.”