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WGA, AMPTP Reach Tentative Deal We Hope Keeps Robots Out Of Writers' Rooms
After 146 days, the Writer’s Strike may soon be coming to a close, as the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents streaming services and studios, came to a tentative deal on Sunday. This was the fifth straight day of negotiations between the two groups.
Reportedly, the thing holding these negotiations up was that the writers wanted protections put in the contract about the use of AI, so that studios don’t get tempted to start trying to replace certain writing jobs with artificial intelligence as the technology improves. Hopefully they got what they wanted out of that, least of all because who the hell wants to watch a movie written by a robot?
In a letter to members, the WGA wrote:
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.
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The strike is not officially over just yet, however, the pickets are called off for now (though members are encouraged to join SAG’s picket lines in solidarity). Deadline reports that writers have also been told by WGA not to go back to work until AMPTP works out a contract with SAG as well. Solidarity!
Members still need to vote on the deal points in order to ratify them, but given the WGA’s cheerful tone, it seems likely that it will go through.
This represents a big change from the position studio executives held at the beginning of the strike — which was that they were prepared to hold out until all of the writers lost their homes and came crawling back. By sheer coincidence, we are sure, this change of heart came about just a few days after the California Senate voted in favor of a law that would allow workers on strike for more than two weeks to collect unemployment.
This is a good sign for the SAG strike, and hopefully AMPTP will be ready to come to the table with them once the language in the WGA contract is finalized. Hell, it’s a good thing for unions and workers all over — every successful strike shows that it can, in fact, be done, and inspires others to fight for their worth (and to not be replaced by AI).