After months of huffing and puffing, the Writers Guild of America and the AMPTP have struck a tentative three-year deal for film and television, allowing Hollywood to breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Negotiations were extended about an hour past the early Tuesday morning deadline when word came down that the two sides had reached an agreement. Though details remain sparse, the problems surrounding the WGA’s ailing health plan appear to have been solved.
Members of the WGA leadership including signed off on the deal, which the negotiating committee will examine at a May 4 meeting before guild members put it to a vote for ratification.
The WGA reportedly sent an email to union captains saying that details would soon be revealed, and an official announcement is expected shortly.
Still, the fact that the WGA and representatives for the studios and networks didn’t give up, and worked late into the night to resolve the situation, has to be considered a win all around. These companies won’t have writers forming picket lines tomorrow, while the WGA will obviously declare this a win for the union, 96% of whom authorized a strike. By banding together and showing the corporations that they meant business, just like they did a decade ago, the WGA was able to accomplish a lot within a relatively narrow window of time.
Had the WGA announced a strike, it could have cost the California economy $200 million per week. The last strike lasted 100 days and is believed to have cost the state economy more than $2 billion.
I’m glad the two sides were able to reach a fair deal (for now), because I sure didn’t want my favorite TV shows and late night hosts to go off the air. Now let’s just hope things go as smooth when SAG-AFTRA starts negotiating its new contract in two weeks.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief