Published: Sun, May 14, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Crisis Averted: Hollywood Writers Won't Be Striking After All

The deal struck Monday night is only tentative, with the WGA noting that while they have "made gains in minimums across the board", there is still much work to be done before writers get truly fair deals in Hollywood.

In addition, the memo also said the that the guild "won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.... Everything we deserve? Certainly not", members of the Writers' negotiating committee wrote in a statement to members, via Deadline.

Last week, almost 96.3 percent of WGA members voted in favor of a strike as guild captains began to send out memos to writers urging them to "be ready to strike" on May 2 and warning them to pack up anything they may have left in their offices on studio lots "just in case". "We made real and substantial gains for writers in a number of areas".

FILE - In this December 13, 2007, file photo, striking writers walk the picket line outside Paramount Studiosin Los Angeles. That's "write", the impending writers' strike had been averted - for now.

Going forward, writers will be paid more per show - 2.4 weeks of work for each episode - affording writers more pay in the event that they're hired for a series with fewer episodes.

Negotiations began back on March 13th and continued right up until the absolute last minute as the contract's expiration would have been effective on May 1.

"Nobody wants a strike" was a popular refrain in recent weeks, though writers had voted overwhelmingly in favor of authorizing a strike to help empower their leadership at the bargaining table.

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Combine that with a faltering health plan the increasing timescale to make a show and writers have a problem.

The Times also reported the studios increased offers on issues including the length of television seasons and writer exclusivity.

The Guild also wanted to amend language that had made it hard, if not impossible, for writers to work on more than one show per season.

Representatives for the writers and producers are engaged in a media blackout, meaning it is unclear how far apart the sides remain or how likely a strike will be called.

The WGA last went on strike just under a decade ago, bringing work to a halt for 100 days over late 2007 and early 2008.

Russ DeVol, the chief research officer at the Milken Institute, estimated a strike of similar duration would have cost California $2.5 billion today.

Guild leaders have argued that entertainment companies and executives have been raking in money while writers' compensation continues to languish, especially for the most junior staff writers. Will you be affected by a Writer's Guild of America strike, should it be announced in the next day or two? In both cases, the most in-demand writers eventually got exhausted of losing income and applied pressure to wrap it up.

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