Tentative Deal Reached in Writers' Strike

Posted on February 9, 2008

At long last, our national nightmare may be over. A tentative deal has been reached between the WGA and the AMPTP and is being presented to the WGA membership today.

The strike, which began Nov. 5, remains in effect until the governing boards of the two writers' guilds gauge the sense of their membership this weekend and decide whether to end the walkout. The boards are expected to meet as early as Sunday, and the strike could be over by Monday morning.

A memorandum sent to some writers guild members summarized a four-hour meeting on Friday in which union leaders briefed a group of 300 strike captains. According to the memorandum, the guild boards and negotiating committee are expected to recommend the tentative deal unanimously, but they are withholding action to end the walkout until after Saturday's scheduled meetings.

In their e-mail message, Patric M. Verrone, president of the West Coast guild, and Michael Winship, his East Coast counterpart, said: "Much has been achieved, and while this agreement is neither perfect nor perhaps all that we deserve for the countless hours of hard work and sacrifice, our strike has been a success."

While approval appears likely, members have warily debated the expected agreement all week, and they are certain to scrutinize the details closely at the Saturday meetings. A guild spokesman on Saturday morning declined to confirm plans for Sunday board meetings.

You can see a summary (in .pdf form) of the deal points here. The WGA would have jurisdiction for writing new media and the rates are laid out in the deal memo. United Hollywood is debating the controversial "window for ad-supported streaming" provisions. Basically, the dispute is over how long the studios can run content as "promotional" and not have to pay royalties. If the period is too long, writers argue that they'll never get paid because viewership drops off quickly after an initial airing.

The meetings are ongoing today. We'll see how the members react.

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