The deal is made, the pickets have been suspended, and Hollywood’s writers are on the verge of getting back to work after months on strike. Actors, meanwhile, wait in the wings for their own resolution.
Crucial steps remain for the writers, who technically remain on strike, and for other workers awaiting a return to production of new shows. The next phase comes Tuesday when the governing boards of the two branches of the Writers Guild of America are expected to vote on the tentative agreement reached by union negotiators with Hollywood studios.
Following the approval from the boards — which is likely — comes a vote from the writers themselves, whose timing is uncertain. The guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, streaming services and production companies in the negotiations, were still finalizing language Monday on their agreement.
That could prompt a delay in Tuesday’s voting and has kept union leaders from sharing with writers the details of what nearly five months of striking and hardship have earned them. The leaders have promised a series of meetings later this week where writers can learn about the terms of the deal regarding pay, show staffing, and control of artificial intelligence in storytelling.
The guild’s leaders told them only that the agreement is “exceptional,” with gains for every member. A successful yes vote from the membership will finally, officially, bring the strike to an end.
Meanwhile, though their own pickets have been suspended, writers were encouraged to join actors in solidarity on their lines starting Tuesday, just as many actors did with writers in the two months before their own strike started in July.
The studio alliance has chosen to negotiate only with the writers so far, and has made no overtures yet toward restarting talks with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists. That will presumably change soon.
SAG-AFTRA leaders have said they will look closely at the agreement struck by the writers, who have many of the same issues they do, but it will not effect the demands they have.