The lengthy strike by Hollywood writers, which had persisted for almost five months, came to a close at midnight Pacific time (07:00 GMT) on Wednesday. The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced the end of the strike, revealing that union leaders had “voted unanimously to lift the restraining order.”
The strike involved 11,500 members of the WGA and was driven by disputes over pay and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry. Its commencement on May 2 was followed by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) joining the strike on July 13, making it the most extended labor dispute to impact Hollywood in decades.
The WGA strike had significant economic implications, costing the US economy an estimated $5 billion, according to economist Kevin Klowden of the Milken Institute. The strike also disrupted numerous top-rated American shows, including “Billions,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Hacks,” “Severance,” “Yellow Jackets,” “The Last of Us,” “Stranger Things,” “Abbott Elementary,” and several daytime and late-night talk shows.
The strike’s resolution comes with the approval of a tentative three-year deal that offers pay raises and establishes protections concerning the use of artificial intelligence. While the details of the deal have not been disclosed, it marks a significant step towards resolving the issues that led to the strike.
However, Hollywood’s return to normalcy remains uncertain as the strike by the actors’ union, SAG, continues. Actors are also seeking improvements in wages, working conditions, health, and pension benefits. Like the writers, actors are eager to establish guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence in future television and film productions.
The resolution of the WGA strike could potentially serve as a model for SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild—American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) to negotiate its own agreement with Hollywood studios, with the hope of addressing the shared concerns of writers and actors in the industry.