ARTS + ENTERTAINMENT

Writers Guild board votes to authorize members to go back to work

Sep 26, 2023, 6:48 PM

FILE - Demonstrators walk with signs during a rally outside the Paramount Pictures Studio in Los An...

FILE - Demonstrators walk with signs during a rally outside the Paramount Pictures Studio in Los Angeles, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. A tentative deal was reached, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, to end Hollywood’s writers strike after nearly five months. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(CNN) — Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have unanimously voted to authorize its members to return to work following the tentative agreement reached Sunday between union negotiators and Hollywood’s studios and streaming services, effectively ending the months-long strike that has paralyzed the industry.

“The WGAW Board and WGAE Council also voted to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th. This allows writers to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval,” the WGA wrote online.

The tentative agreement, reached earlier this week, marks a turning point for Hollywood’s film and TV studios after both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents actors, went on strike this summer to fight for higher pay and protections against artificial intelligence.

A summary of the agreement by the WGA included AI protections. “AI can’t write or rewrite literary material,” according to the summary, which also noted a requirement that AI-generated materials must be disclosed to writers.

The agreement also addressed streaming residuals and transparency for data around streaming. The rise of Netflix and other such services over the years have helped transform Hollywood, becoming a major issue in the writers’ and actors’ strikes.

Although union leadership has allowed union members to return to work, their contracts with the studios have not yet been officially ratified, meaning union members may still reject the terms of the deal, potentially prolonging a historic strike that has crippled many parts of the US entertainment industry.

The union said “eligible voters will be able to vote from October 2nd through October 9th, and will receive ballot and ratification materials when the vote opens.”

The WGA officially began striking on May 2, making the strike one of the longest in its history. The current record was in 1988 when the WGA struck for 154 days.

The Hollywood strikes have been costly, with a nationwide economic impact of more than $5 billion, according to economists. The pain has been felt by more than just Hollywood insiders; restaurants and businesses that cater to the entertainment industry, like makeup and custodial work, have experienced a downturn, as well.

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Writers Guild board votes to authorize members to go back to work