Strike Averted as Hollywood Writers Reach Deal with Studios

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May 2 (UPI) — The Writers Guild of America on Tuesday said it has reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, avoiding a strike just as its most current contract expired.

The guild’s negotiating committee said it is recommending the deal for ratification by WGA members.

“The Writers Guilds of America, West and East and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have concluded negotiations and have reached a tentative agreement on terms for a new three-year collective bargaining agreement,” the WGA and the AMPTP said in a joint statement to The Hollywood Reporter early Tuesday morning.

Last month, 96 percent of the guild’s voting members authorized a strike against Hollywood’s film and television production companies, meaning a work stoppage could have begun Tuesday if negotiations had not been successful.

“In [the deal], we made gains in minimums across the board — as well as contribution increases to our health plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in options and exclusivity,” the WGA negotiating committee said in a letter to its members.

“We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition [which has never before existed in our (minimum basic agreement)] of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers. We won a 15 percent increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in high-budget [streaming video on demand] residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV. And, also for the first time ever, job protection on parental leave.”

The guild last went on strike for 100 days in 2007-08.