(Los Angeles) Leaders of the Hollywood screenwriters’ union declared an end to their nearly five-month strike Tuesday after board members approved a contract agreement with the studios.
The boards of directors of the Eastern and Western branches of the Writers Guild of America both voted in favor of the agreement and later announced that the strike was over and that screenwriters would be free to work starting Wednesday at 12 a.m. 01.
The writers still have to vote to ratify the contract themselves, but lifting the strike will allow them to work during that process, the Writers Guild told its members in an email.
Hollywood actors are still on strike and no negotiations are on the horizon.
A new spirit of optimism animated the actors who were on picket Tuesday, for the first time since the writers reached their agreement in principle Sunday evening.
“For a second, I really thought this was going to last until next year,” said Marissa Cuevas, an actress who has appeared in the television series Kung Fu and The Big Bang Theory.
“Knowing that at least one of us got a good deal gives a lot of hope that we will get a good deal too,” she added.
Even though they made their own deal, the writers were encouraged to march in solidarity with the actors. Many were on the picket lines Tuesday, including “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, who was alongside his friend, “ER” actor Noah Wyle.
“We would never have had the influence that we had if SAG [the union] hadn’t come out,” Mr. Weiner said. They were very courageous to do so. »
Striking actors voted to extend their walkout to the lucrative video game market, a move that could put new pressure on Hollywood studios to strike a deal with artists who provide voices and stunts for games.
The Actors Guild—American Federation of Radio and Television Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced the decision Monday evening, saying 98 percent of its members had voted in favor of a strike against video game companies if negotiations in progress were not successful. Discussions to try to reach an agreement were to resume on Tuesday.
Acting in video games can include a variety of roles, from voice performances to motion capture work to stunt work. Video game players had already gone on strike in 2016, a work stoppage that lasted almost a year.
Some issues are common in video game negotiations as well as the broader actors’ strike that has slowed Hollywood for months, including salaries, safety measures and protections related to the use of artificial intelligence. . Companies involved include gaming giants Activision, Electronic Arts, Epic Games, Take 2 Productions as well as the video game divisions of Disney and Warner Bros.
“It’s time for video game companies to stop playing games and get serious about reaching an agreement on this labor contract,” SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said in a statement.
Audrey Cooling, a spokeswoman for the video game producers, said they “continue to negotiate in good faith” and have reached agreements in principle on more than half of the proposals presented.
Since the start of the year, American consumers have spent US$34.9 billion on video games, consoles and accessories, according to market research group Circana.
The alliance of studios, streaming services and producers has chosen to negotiate only with writers so far, and has yet to be open to restarting negotiations with SAG-AFTRA . This is likely to change soon.
SAG-AFTRA officials said they would carefully review the deal with the writers, which covers many of the same issues, but would not impact their demands.