Hollywood’s longest and most costly labor strikes have come to a standstill… for now.
After 146 days of labor stoppage, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) reached a tentative agreement with The Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers (AMPTP) late Sunday, September 24.
The strike is paused for now, but writers are still technically on strike until the deal is ratified.
Brett Cornwell, Secretary of film fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha (DKA), has been a weekly picketer at these protests since they began back in May.
“At [the beginning] of the strike, there were a lot of people who came out if you went to Paramount or Amazon, with huge crowds and high energy excitement around whole studios.” Cornwell stated. “It wasn’t an excitement out of joy for what was happening, but buckling in for a fight.”
Brett Cornwell pictured right Picketing at Paramount Studios. Photo via Instagram.
The spectacle of writers picketing outside of Hollywood’s premiere studios initially enticed celebrities and the general public; but according to Cornwell, public engagement began to dwindle the longer the strikes went on.
“Writers began to lose houses and everything they had saved up for, turning the tone of the strikes into more of a bitter necessity.” Cornwell explained. “At this point, [protesting] was their job. People strapped in for the long haul and by now the excited tone was that of a fight – we were angry at the AMPTP for starting a fight over basic livelihoods.”
According to a statement issued to WGA members Sunday night, the union “reached a tentative agreement on the 2023 MBA, which is to say an agreement in principle on all deal points, subject to drafting final contract language.”
“I am more than satisfied with what the WGA was able to eke out.” Cornwell stated. “It was an outright humiliation of AMPTP. The agreement they’ve come to is huge, especially for young filmmakers like us at Loyola… This is truly a slam dunk, home run, absolute decisive victory on the WGA’s part, and I can only hope for the same with SAG.”
The 2023 WGA MBA has several terms of agreement, including minimum wage increases, regulations for the use of AI, improved terms of screenwriting employment, and increased compensation across the board.
“Writing is labor. Acting is labor.” Cornwell stated. “It is a commodity that we provide for studios to send out to consumers. By all means, writers and actors deserve the utmost protections possible, and I cannot applaud and thank both unions enough for both servicing our current working entertainers but also for paving the way to protect up and coming creators eager to create new cinema for decades to come. ”