Hollywood Writers End Strike

Hollywood Writers Strike 1

The Hollywood Writers Guild said its members could return to work on Wednesday as they decide whether to approve a three-year deal that provides pay raises and some protections around the use of artificial intelligence, among other benefits.

The leadership of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted unanimously to end the strike, the guild said in a statement.

Now, the union’s 11,500 members have until Oct. 9 to cast their votes on the proposed contract.

The WGA said the estimated value of the deal was $233 million a year.

Film and television writers left their jobs in May after failing to reach a deal with major studios including Netflix, Walt Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.

The writers appeared to have won concessions across the board, with increases over the three-year contract, higher health and pension contributions, and Artificial Intelligence clauses.

Under the agreement, the studios agreed to meet at least twice a year with the guild to discuss plans to use AI in film development and production.

Studios are not expressly prohibited from using AI to generate content. Writers, however, have the right to sue if their work is used to train AI.

Writers can choose to use AI when writing scripts, but a company cannot mandate the use of the software. Studios must also disclose to a writer whether any material was generated by AI.

In other areas, the guild said it got guarantees of minimal staffing in writers’ rooms, a key issue for many of its members. Staffing will be determined by the number of episodes per season. Minimum wage rates will increase by more than 12% in three years.

In addition, payments for the use of television programs and movies outside the United States will increase and a bonus will be awarded for the most popular streaming programs.

“These are essential protections that companies told us, to our faces, they would NEVER give us,” writer Adam Conover, a member of the guild’s bargaining committee, posted on the X social media platform.

“But because of our solidarity, because they literally can’t make a dollar without us, they bent, then broke, and gave us what we deserve. WE WON,” Conover said.

Television journalist David Slack said: “Our strike was necessary. Our strike was effective. Our strike is a victory.”

The end of the strike means daytime and late-night talk shows can return to the air. Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” said on social media that he would return with new episodes starting Friday.

“My writers and Real-Time are back!” Maher wrote.

Maher and Drew Barrymore had angered writers by saying this month that their talk shows would return before the strike ended.

The end of the WGA strike does not return Hollywood to normality. The SAG-AFTRA actors union walked out in July and continues to strike.