(CNN) — Members of the Writers Guild of America union ratified a new contract with Hollywood and television studios, the WGA said in a statement released Monday.
Of the 8,525 valid votes cast, 99% of WGA members voted to ratify the new contract, which will last from September 25, 2023, through May 1, 2026, the release said.
“Through solidarity and determination, we have ratified a contract with meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of our combined membership,” said WGA West President Meredith Stiehm. “Together we were able to accomplish what many said was impossible only six months ago.”
WGA East President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers now needs to negotiate a fair contract with SAG-AFTRA, the actors union, which has been on strike since July.
“Until the studios make a deal that addresses the needs of performers, WGA members will be on the picket lines, walking side-by-side with SAG-AFTRA in solidarity,” she said.
In a statement, the AMPTP said the new contract represents “meaningful gains” for Hollywood’s writers.
“The AMPTP member companies congratulate the WGA on the ratification of its new contract, which represents meaningful gains and protections for writers. It is important progress for our industry that writers are back to work,” the organization said.
As part of the deal, most writers’ minimum pay will increase 5% immediately, another 4% in May 2024 and then another 3.5% in May 2025. Health fund contributions will increase by a half percentage point to 12% of companies’ reportable earnings. And writers working on the same script will no longer need to split pension and health contributions.
Some writers were concerned about the growth of streaming, because they lost out on residuals that traditional television shows paid when they were re-run. Initial compensation and residual pay for big-budget streaming projects will increase as part of the new contract.
The deal also includes assurances that AI cannot write or rewrite literary material and will require AI-generated materials to be disclosed to writers.
Streaming services, such as Netflix, Disney+ and Max, also pledged to increase transparency about how many hours certain programs are streamed.
The ratification of a new employment contract between the WGA and Hollywood’s biggest studios officially closes the chapter on one of the longest strikes in the union’s history. The writers’ strike began in May and ended last month — after 148 days — following a tentative contract agreement made between the union and the AMPTP.
The writers’ strike, coupled with the ongoing SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike, hobbled the entertainment industry’s ability to do business over the last few months. It was the first time both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA went on strike together since 1960.
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