It’s official: the strike that shut down the American entertainment industry for the past 100 days is finally over. Last weekend, the Writers Guild of America leadership sent an email to its membership announcing a tentative deal had been reached with the Studios, including “WGA jurisdiction and separated rights in new media, residuals for Internet reuse, enforcement and auditing tools, expansion of fair market value and distributor’s gross language, improvements to other traditional elements of the MBA, and no rollbacks.”
On Saturday, February 9, WGA East and West held informational meetings to go over the tentative deal point by point with the guild membership. Guild leaders made it clear they thought this was a deal worth taking, and that it was a limited time offer: the writers are entitled to a ten days’ notice before voting to ratify a new contract, but the latest offer by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) was contingent on the strike ending immediately — presumably in hopes of being able to air an unobstructed Academy Awards Ceremony on February 24. The WGA allowed television showrunners to return to work right away, but the decision whether or not to lift the strike would be left in the hands of the WGA membership, in a special vote to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
At a WGA press conference held on Sunday, February 10, WGA leaders touted the new contract as a “huge victory.” WGA West president Patric Verrone credited News Corporation’s Peter Chernin, Disney’s Bob Iger and CBS’ Les Moonves as being key players in the negotiation process. “Since we began negotiations in July, we’ve been saying, ‘If they get paid, we get paid,'” Verrone told reporters. “This contract makes that a reality. It’s the best deal this Guild has bargained for in 30 years after the most successful strike this Guild has waged in 35 years.”
On Tuesday, February 12, the WGA East and West voted to end the strike by 92.5% margin. In their official announcement, guild leaders Patric Verrone and Michael Winship told the WGA membership, “With the establishment of the WGA jurisdiction over new media and residual formulas based on distributor’s gross (among other gains) we are confident that the results are a significant achievement not only for ourselves but the entire creative community, now and in the future.”
Writers return to work today, and the vote to ratify the new contract will take place on February 25.
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