What We Won
We set out in this negotiation to address critical issues across our membership, brought on by changes in the business that were driving down writer pay and undermining working conditions. Prior to the strike, the companies refused to engage on most issues. The following is a summary of the deal terms for the 2023 MBA, as compared with the AMPTP offer on the table as of 5/1/2023. This contract—won with the power of member solidarity and our union siblings over a 148-day strike—incorporates meaningful gains and protections for writers in every segment of the membership.
|WGA PROPOSALS (as of 5/1/2023)||AMPTP OFFERS (as of 5/1/2023)||TENTATIVE AGREEMENT (9/25/2023)|
|6%-5%-5% for all minimums including residual bases.||4%-3%-2% (one-time increase to most residual bases of 2% or 2.5%).||5%-4%-3.5% for most minimums; select residual bases and minimums get lower increases and/or single increases.|
|STREAMING FEATURES: Streaming features with a budget of $12 million or more receive full theatrical terms, including better initial compensation and residuals.||Made-for HBSVOD programs 96+ mins., with a budget of $40 million or more, receive 9% increase to initial compensation; no improvement in residuals.||Made-for HBSVOD programs 96+ mins, with a budget of $30 million or more, receive 18% increase to initial compensation ($100,000 for story & teleplay) and a 26% increase in the residual base. Combined with the foreign residual improvements, this produces a 3-year residual of $216,000 for projects on the largest streaming services.|
|GUARANTEED 2ND STEP: Require a 2nd step if hired for a screenplay for less than 250% of minimum.||Rejected our proposal. Countered by offering meetings to educate creative executives and producers about screenwriters’ free work concerns.||Require a 2nd step if hired for a screenplay for 200% of minimum or less; also applies to purchases of screenplays.|
|WEEKLY PAY: 50% pay upon commencement, and remaining 50% to be paid out weekly over the writing period. Applies if writer is paid less than 250% of minimum; writers above this threshold have the right to opt-in to weekly pay.||Rejected our proposal. Refused to make a counter.||Accelerated payment schedule for flat deals: 50% pay upon commencement; 25% pay 9 weeks after commencement, upon invoice; and 25% on delivery. Applies if writer is paid 200% of minimum or less.|
|ESTABLISH MINIMUMS FOR STREAMING: Extend television “Appendix A” terms to high budget shows made for SVOD (including weekly minimums, 13-week guarantees, and residuals based on “aggregate”).||Appendix A weeklies apply only to high budget Comedy/Variety programs made for SVOD. Budget break is $700,000 for 30-minute show, $1.15 million for 60-minute show. No aggregate or 13-week guarantees would apply, and writers can be employed on a daily-rate basis.||Television Appendix A initial compensation terms apply to high budget Comedy-Variety, quiz & audience, and other non-dramatic shows made for SVOD, including 13-week guarantees for C/V and “aggregate” for compensation purposes.
Budget breaks are $600,000 for once/week 30-minute show, $1.15 million for once/week 60-minute show. Projects with four episodes per week have lower breaks; for instance, C/V strip shows have budget breaks of $150,000 for 30-minute show, $250,000 for 60-minute.
For high budget daytime serials that move to SVOD, Company must give notice and negotiate with Guild for all terms and conditions, including initial compensation and residuals.
1.2% residual applies to all high budget programs.
|TV WEEKLY COMPENSATION|
|DEVELOPMENT ROOM COMPENSATION|
|Pre-greenlight (a/k/a “development room”) room weekly services paid at 25% premium. Premium applies whenever writers are hired before a series or season order, including in-between seasons.||5% premium for “development room” weekly services. Premium applies only when 3 or more writers (including teams) are hired for 10 or fewer weeks before a season 1 of a series.||Development room weekly services paid at 25% premium, if writer guaranteed 19 or fewer weeks; premiums do not apply to writers guaranteed 20 or more weeks. Premium applies to television and HBSVOD series whenever 3 or more writers are hired before a series or season order, including in-between seasons. Development room weekly fees may not be credited against post-greenlight room fees.
Assuming ratification in October, the development room weekly rates apply to writer deals entered into on or after November 1, 2023.
|SCRIPT FEES FOR STAFF WRITERS|
|Staff Writers receive script fees on top of their weeklies.||Agreed as of 5/1.||As agreed.|
|PILOT & BACKUP SCRIPT PREMIUM FOR HBSVOD & HBAVOD|
|150% pilot premium and 115% backup script premium apply to made for HBSVOD.||Agreed as of 5/1 (for HBSVOD).||Pilot and backup script premiums apply to both HBSVOD and HBAVOD.|
|PRESERVING THE WRITERS’ ROOM|
|Pre-greenlight rooms: Minimum staff of 6 writers (including 4 Writer-Producers)
|Rejected our proposals. Refused to make a counter.||For television and HBSVOD series:
Development rooms: If a development room of 3 or more writers is convened, minimum staff of 3 Writer-Producers is required.
Development rooms 20 weeks or longer:
The following minimum staff requirements apply based on the episode order, unless a single writer is employed to write all episodes of a season:
|DURATION OF EMPLOYMENT|
|Pre-greenlight rooms: Minimum staff guaranteed at least 10 consecutive weeks of work
|Rejected our proposals. Refused to make a counter.||Development rooms: Minimum staff guaranteed at least 10 consecutive weeks of work on television and HBSVOD series.
|MINIMUMS IN POST-PRODUCTION|
|MBA weekly minimums during post.||Rejected our proposal. Refused to make a counter.||Rejected our proposal. Guild will continue to pursue arbitration claims for any writer not paid weekly minimums during post.|
Increase span cap from $400,000 to $450,000 (basic cable to remain at $375,000). Extend span protection to writers on limited series.
|Agreed as of 5/1.||As agreed.|
|OPTIONS & EXCLUSIVITY|
|Increase earnings cap from $325,000 to $350,000.||Agreed as of 5/1.||As agreed.|
|FOREIGN STREAMING RESIDUALS|
|New HBSVOD residual based on streaming service’s foreign subscriber count.||HBSVOD residual based on foreign subscriber count for largest global streaming services. Paramount+ and Max continue to pay a lower license-fee-based residual.||HBSVOD residual based on foreign subscriber count for largest global streaming services. Paramount+ and Max continue to pay a lower license-fee-based residual.|
|Foreign Subs. #||Foreign Payment (% of Residual Base)||Foreign Subs. #||Foreign Payment (% of Residual Base)||Foreign Subs. #||Foreign Payment (% of Residual Base)|
|Less than 20 million||50%||Less than 1 million||8%||Less than 20 million||47%|
|20-45 million||75%||20-45 million||40%||20-45 million||60%|
|45-75 million||100%||More than 45 million||60%||45-75 million||75%|
|More than 75 million||150%||More than 75 million||90%|
|VIEWERSHIP-BASED STREAMING RESIDUALS|
|Establish a viewership-based residual—in addition to existing fixed residual—to reward programs with greater viewership. Require transparency regarding program views.||Rejected our proposal. Refused to make a counter.||Viewership-based streaming bonus: HBSVOD series and movies that are viewed by 20% or more of the service’s domestic subscribers in the first 90 days of release, or the first 90 days of any subsequent exhibition year, get a bonus equal to 50% of the fixed domestic and foreign residual. For example, for a project written under the 2023 MBA, the bonus would be equal to:
Streaming data transparency: Companies agree to provide the Guild, subject to a confidentiality agreement, the total number of hours streamed, both domestically and internationally, of self-produced high budget streaming programs (e.g., a Netflix original series). Aggregated information can be shared.
|AD-SUPPORTED FREE STREAMING SERVICES|
|High-budget programs made-for AVOD get TV weeklies and script fees and improved residuals.||Rejected our proposal. Refused to make a counter.||High-budget made-for AVOD programs get same initial compensation as HBSVOD programs (Article 14 weekly rates, and network prime-time or Basic Cable script fees depending on budget tier); 2% residual for AVOD reuse.|
|PENSION & HEALTH|
|WGA option to divert 0.5% of negotiated minimums increases to Pension or Health Fund (in years 2 and 3 of the MBA)||Agreed as of 5/1.||As agreed.|
|HEALTH FUND (Proposals made after 5/2)|
|Increase Health Fund contribution rate by 1%.||N/A||Increase Health Fund contribution rate by 0.5% in the second year of the agreement, from 11.5% to 12%.|
|Extend health care coverage for 1 quarter for writers who lose coverage due to the strike.||N/A||Agreed.|
|Each member of a team gets P&H contributions as if they were writing as an individual.||Rejected our proposal. Refused to make a counter.||Each member of a team gets P&H contributions as if they were writing as an individual (i.e., each member of a team gets contributions up to the contribution cap for individual writers; and each member of a team must be paid contributions on the full weekly minimum).|
|Regulate use of artificial intelligence on MBA-covered projects: AI can’t write or rewrite literary material; can’t be used as source material; and MBA-covered material can’t be used to train AI.||Rejected our proposal. Countered by offering annual meetings to discuss advancements in technology.||Regulate use of artificial intelligence on MBA-covered projects: AI-generated written material is not considered literary material, source material or assigned material under the MBA. AI is not a writer under the MBA.
Writer can elect to use AI when performing writing services, if Company consents and provided writer follows applicable company policies. Company cannot require writer to use AI software (e.g., ChatGPT) when performing writing services.
Company must disclose to writer if any material given to writer has been generated by AI or incorporates AI-generated material.
Guild reserves right to assert that exploitation of writers’ material to train AI is prohibited by MBA or other law.
|ESTIMATED VALUE OF DEAL|
|$429 million/year||$86 million/year||$233 million/year|
Note: The above summary is for informational purposes only. The Memorandum of Agreement contains all negotiated deal points in contract language.