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Hollywood writers strike avoided just before deadline

‘Your voices were indeed heard’

Diverse Writers And Actors Support WGA Strike Charley Gallay/Getty Images

What seemed like an inevitable writers strike in Hollywood has been avoided, as the studios and writers union reached a tentative agreement late last night.

In announcing the deal, the Writers Guild of America confirmed that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the trade association representing film and TV studios, had met many of the writers’ demands. For instance, the WGA secured paid parental leave for its members for the first time. New salary guidelines and additional support for the union’s health plan helped to address two of the largest problems the union’s members were vocal about leading up to the vote last night.

Here’s how the WGA described its victories in the agreement:

In it, we made gains in minimums across the board — as well as contribution increases to our Health Plan that should ensure its solvency for years to come. And we further expanded our protections in Options and Exclusivity.

We also made unprecedented gains on the issue of short seasons in television, winning a definition (which has never before existed in our MBA) of 2.4 weeks of work for each episodic fee. Any work beyond that span will now require additional payment for hundreds of writer-producers.

We won a 15% increase in Pay TV residuals, roughly $15 million in increases in High-Budget SVOD residuals, and, for the first time ever, residuals for comedy-variety writers in Pay TV.

And, also for the first time ever, job protection on Parental Leave.

The studios would not budge on certain issues. But the WGA’s co-chairs, Chip Johannessen, Chris Keyser and Billy Ray, issued a letter to members saying that the guild netted more than $130 million to keep the union alive for years to come.

The announcement came in around 2 a.m. ET, just one hour before the WGA was scheduled to go on strike. Many writers within Hollywood took to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms to announce their support for the union and their relief over the resolution.

Timeless creator Shawn Ryan, Chronicle writer Max Landis, Community creator Dan Harmon, Supergirl writer Paula Yoo and dozens more applauded the negotiating committee for their work, boasting it as an example of why having a union is so important to their industry.

More information is expected to come in the next few days as the specifics of the deal are worked out, but for now, the writers are back at work.

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