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WGA strike comes to an end after 148 days

By Kendall Shamus, Staff Writer

After nearly 150 days, the Writers Guild of America Strike has finally come to an end. The Strike started on May 2. The Union voted to authorize the strike of its 11,500 members for the first time in fifteen years. The strike started because writers argued they were receiving worse pay and less consistent work now that online-streaming platforms are one of the most popular ways to watch TV shows and movies. WGA also demanded more protection against artificial intelligence use in TV/Film studios. 

The strike has resulted in pay increases and raises in residuals for writers. They came to a three year agreement which entails a 12.5 percent pay increase starting with a 5 percent upon the contract’s ratification. For the following two years, writers will receive 4 percent and 3.5 percent increases in the respective years. Writers secured a 76 percent increase in foreign streaming residuals. According to WGA, this will increase their residuals from Netflix from $18,684 to $32,830 for a single, hour-long episode. Writers will also receive a “viewership-based streaming bonus” between $9,000 and $40,500, depending upon the length of the show or if the streaming feature has a budget over $30 million.

During this strike, actors stood in solidarity with the WGA. These actors are a part of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) which includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood who joined in on the strike. This decision marked the first time film and television performers have staged a work stoppage since 1980. 

Courtesy of “WGA Strike” by is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Senior musical theatre major Chloe Caustritashared her thoughts on an agreement surfacing between WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. 

“I was quite shocked. It felt like it was almost never going to happen. But I was very glad that it did. 146 days is a massive time for production to stop and now people can finally get back to work, doing what they love and getting paid closer to fairly for it,” she shared. 

Both actors and writers were fighting for higher pay in each job but also higher residuals from streaming services. Writers were being paid limited amounts of money for how many times their shows or films were being streamed on various streaming platforms. 

Caustrita shared an interesting statistic she learned online about the strike. 

“The most shocking statistic to me was the fact that the show “Suits” was streamed for 3 billion minutes on Netflix, yet the writers were collectively paid $3,000. This means roughly 71,428,571 episodes were watched. To put it into perspective, if each of these episodes were counted as a “view” under the YouTube model, this would net the creators $1,285,714. Netflix paid them 0.2% of what they could have made with those views on YouTube. Sad,” she said.

Senior musical theatre major Brecken Hummer shared his thoughts on the  surprising statistics regarding writer pay and number of streams per episode.

“It made me realize the financial struggles others in the industry face. It’s upsetting to see that the talent needed to bring bold ideas to fruition are simply swept under the rug,” Hummer said.

With the strike coming to an end, more agreements have been put into place besides the financial aspects of jobs for all in the TV/Film industry. The Union has agreed that studios must hire at least three writer-producers, including the showrunner, for a guaranteed 10 consecutive weeks of work during the development of a series. Once projects are signed on for more episodes in that season, the minimum number of writers increases to five once the series reaches seven episodes. Teams working on shows with 13 or more episodes will receive another writer. This allows for more jobs to be created as well job security for entertainment industry professionals. 

In the agreement, AI is not allowed to write or rewrite any literary material and AI-generated material cannot be considered source material under this current deal. The rules in this deal do not confine writers from using AI to help with their work if the company allows it and if they follow company policy. This deal that was announced will be in place for the next three years.

The strike ending is a relief to writers, actors, producers and all involved in the entertainment industry. 

Hummer further commented on the strike ending. 

“It seems like the folks directly affected can finally begin to get back to doing what they love – creating and bringing stories to life,” he said.

Now everyone in Hollywood is getting back to work with an agreement that ensures everyone is paid fairly, treated equally, and has consistent work in the entertainment industry. 

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