Okay, I’ll be honest: I was putting off finishing this post in hopes that I could do one big post about the end of both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Although SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP are back at the negotiating table since last week, as of this writing, they haven’t made a deal.
The WGA, however, has made a deal and, in a trend they established from the get-go, the WGA has provided a great summary of what is coming out of the deal and a breakdown of what they asked for in May, what the AMPTP’s initial response (or non-response), and what the WGA got out of the deal at the end.
This second link is what I really enjoyed reviewing because, if you recall lo these many moons ago, the AMPTP didn’t respond or rejected many of the WGA’s proposals and here, on this side of time, there are many, many gains. Some gains weren’t as good as what the WGA wanted, a couple were better, and again, the big thing for me was for the 9 proposals from the WGA that the AMPTP outright rejected back in May. With this deal, the AMPTP reversed and offered something on 8 of them, including the much-covered issue of the use of AI in scriptwriting. Bean counters without terminal cases of loss aversion can point to the fact that the WGA asked for changes that meant increased costs of $429 million per year, but the deal means increased costs of $233 million per year (were I a bean counter myself, I would check how much of that is tied to addressing inflation, but my premise is it’s a “nontrivial amount.)
Reading the summaries above, it probably comes as no surprise that media coverage declares this an unabashed victory for the WGA specifically and organized labor generally.
Alissa Wilkinson and Emily Stewart at Vox give a good overview in their “explainer” style that hits all the various issues that have been covered this summer. Josef Adalian over at Vulture gives more of an “oral history” style of how things went down, a general approach shared by Cynthia Littleton, Matt Donnelly, and Kate Aurthur for industry publication Variety. Plus, Molly McPherson writes for Forbes about specific tactics WGA used to great effect to end in the deal.
Since this coverage, I’ve seen multiple times from multiple people “why did it take this long to get to this deal?” Hopefully, that helps speed along sensible negotiations with the SAG-AFTRA deal and, indeed, the studio heads seem to be involved with those now.
A final note: I was holding off on posting this long enough so that news has come that the WGA membership has voted to approve the deal overwhelmingly. (As someone who’s been an election official for local elections where a minority of registered voters voted and that percentage of a percentage was reported as “overwhelming,” I was pleased to see both a comfortable majority of WGA members voted and, of that majority, a substantial majority approved the deal).