By Rowan Horowitz
As has been reported nationwide for the past several months, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has been on strike for over 100 days. The strike, according to CNN, was due to “revenue streams from traditional linear television […] declining,” meaning less money for writers. So much less money, in fact that “writers have said they can’t afford to live under the current economics and pay structure of the television and movie industry […] there are many successful, even award-winning writers who are finding themselves unable to make a living at the profession anymore.” AI was also a huge concern for writers.
As of Wednesday, September 27, at 12:01 AM, the strike is over. While the agreements are being ratified, writers are allowed to return to work for the first time in 148 days. Unfortunately, the actors (represented by the SAG-AFTRA union) are still on strike. They are negotiating for higher pay as well in addition to protections from AI.
According to CNN, “the contract, which will expire in May 2026, includes pay increases, better benefits, protections against the studio’s use of artificial intelligence, guarantees for streaming compensation, longer-duration employment terms, and other perks.” WGA Chief Negotiator Ellen Stutzman told NPR that “There’s a bunch of things the companies told us they would never do,” which have been achieved in this contract. The contract is yet to be ratified, as stated above, but overall it seems that the writers have gotten a lot of what they asked for.
WGA West President David Goodman told NPR that “the deal is exceptional in that it is something that will protect writers, not just now, but in the future.”
Goodman also told NPR that the studios actually made all of these changes because unions demanded them, and have been picketing in front of studios in Los Angeles, New York City, and other locations. This strike has cost everyone involved a lot of money. Goodman says that once the studios “realized that everything they were asking for was not only reasonable but affordable,” they were more willing to sit down and talk.
Member meetings were held the week of 9/25. The ratification vote is being held all this week (10/2-10/9) according to Variety. Variety predicts that the new contract will be passed without much issue due to the weariness of the strikers.
While the writers are returning to work, however, actors unionized under SAG-AFTRA are still striking. Members of WGA have vowed to show solidarity even though they are returning to work. The New York Times quotes Amy Berg, a Writers Guild strike captain, as she wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “I know there’s a huge sign of relief reverberating through the town right now, but it’s not over for any of us until SAG-AFTRA gets their deal. The best thing that can be done by the general public is to wait and see. Listen to what the unions ask the public to do.”