EXCLUSIVE: As the striking actors guild sits down today with the studio bosses for the first new talks in over 80 days, the writers are one step closer to officially ending their nearly 150-day labor dispute with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
“We strongly endorse this proposed contract and encourage you to vote for its ratification,” said Writers Guild of America West president Meredith Stiehm and WGA East president Lisa Takeuchi in a joint message to guild members that started landing in scribes’ inboxes late this morning (read the full email below).
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Over 11,000 members of the WGA on both coasts received their ratification ballots and support material Monday via email. Garnering unanimous support from the WGA West board and the WGA East council the tentative agreement that guild negotiators came to with studio CEOs on September 24 is now out for “members in good standing” to give a Yea or Nay to.
Voting started online today at 10 am PT and ends at 1 pm PT on October 9. “Results will be announced on the WGAW and WGAE website after the close of voting,” said the missive to members Monday of the agreement it took nearly five months out on the picket lines by writers to secure.
Starting on September 20, Warner Bros Discovery’s David Zaslav, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, NBCUniversal’s Donna Langley and Disney’s Bob Iger sat down directly across the bargaining table from WGA chief negotiator Ellen Stutzman, as well as former guild presidents David Goodman and Chris Keyser to hammer out a deal on contentious issues like AI, residuals, writers room staffing levels, and data transparency. Just before sundown on September 24, as Yom Kippur was about to begin, a tentative agreement was unveiled.
The agreement was approved by the WGA’s leadership on both coasts last week and the strike officially ended at 12:01 am PT on September 28 — allowing writers to go back to work
Taking a fairly straightforward and almost bland approach, especially for a nearly five-month long strike that shut Hollywood down, the long-expected note to members did have some news in it.
The WGA have scheduled an “in-person meeting at the end of voting period to answer any questions about the tentative agreement,” the guild said today. Set for October 9 at noon, the meeting will likely see WGA chief negotiator Stutzman in attendance, I hear. That midday gathering next Monday at the guild’s Fairfax and 3rd Avenue HQ will have online voting “available” for those members who need it.
That face-to-face Q&A meeting is required under the tentative three-year contract, which runs from September 25,2023 to May 31, 2026,
As for the AMPTP and SAG-AFTRA — their first day of deliberations Monday at the latter’s Wilshire offices seems to going fairly smoothly with everyone getting to know each other again after nearly three months without official talks.
READ THE FULL WGA RATIFICATION VOTE EMAIL SENT OUT TO MEMBERS TODAY HERE:
This email serves as notice of your right to vote on ratification of the 2023 Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA). We strongly urge you to vote for ratification. The proposed agreement comes to you with the unanimous support of the 2023 Negotiating Committee. It also enjoys the support of the WGAW Board of Directors and the WGAE Council, both of which voted unanimously in favor of ratification on September 25.
Information about negotiations and the tentative agreement can be found on the WGA website. In particular you should review the following:
The complete tentative agreement which is codified in this Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
A short summary of the MOA.
A comparison chart showing the status of negotiations on May 1st and what we achieved after 148 days on strike.
FAQ explaining the new contract terms.
How to vote: The 2023 MBA is subject to ratification by the combined membership of Writers Guild East and West. Eligible WGAW members in good standing may vote online beginning at 10 a.m. on Monday, October 2, 2023 by clicking here. You may also access the online ballot by clicking on the WGA Contract 2023 website. You username is your last name and your password is your eight-digit member ID number found on your Guild membership card.
Member meeting: WGAW will conduct an in-person meeting at the end of the voting period to answer any remaining questions about the tentative agreement. The meeting will take place on the second floor of Guild headquarters, 7000 W. Third St., Los Angeles, CA 90048 at noon on October 9, 2023. Please RSVP for the here. Online voting will be available at the meeting.
The voting period will close on October 9, 2023 at 1 p.m. PDT. Results will be announced on the WGAW and WGAE websites after the close of voting.
We strongly endorse the proposed contract and encourage you to vote for its ratification.
MEREDITH STIEHM, PRESIDENT,
LISA TAKEUCHI CULLEN, WGAE
Denise Petski contributed to this report
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