Writers Reach Deal With Studios, Writers Strike Averted

Posted on May 7, 2017

It went down to the wire, but the writers' strike was averted this week. The L.A. Times reports that this time major studio heads got involved by joining a conference call last weekend and indicating a willingness to pay writers more and address the issues of declining pay and health benefits during the Golden Age of Television.

On Thursday night the boards of directors of the WGA West in Los Angeles and the WGA East council in New York unanimously voted to accept the deal reached with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The deal lasts for three years and is subject to ratification by the membership of both groups.

Variety reports that under the new deal writers make substantial gains, but didn't get everything they wanted. But they are getting increased contributions to the health care fund as well as gains in minimum compensation and other issues. In a memo sent to members the WGA leadership said, "We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer- producers."

The memo also said that writers gained approximately $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals and that they will now receive residuals for comedy-variety writers who work in pay TV. Writers also will have job protection when they take parental leave. The Guild leadership noted that although it didn't get everything it asked for, that it managed to get a deal worth $130 million more for writers, which is a big win.

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