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WGA Votes To Ratify New Studio Contract

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Picketers during the 2007/2008 WGA strike. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
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Good news for all the aspiring screenwriters out there; the Writers Guild of America (WGA) voted Wednesday to ratify its new contract with studios and producers. The vote was almost unanimous, the Hollywood Reporter notes, with 3,617 WGA members voting in support of the new three-year contract and only 30 against. Granted, a majority of the WGA's 9,441 eligible members didn't cast a vote at all, but at least the ones who did were unified in their message.

The WGA voted to authorize a potential writers' strike on April 24, vowing to stop work upon expiration of their existing contract at midnight on Tuesday, May 2, if studios didn't agree to their terms. The strike was averted at the last minute on May 2, when the WGA made a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The new WGA contract addresses many of the Guild members' major demands, including improved health and pension plans, increased residuals for streaming content, increased compensation for writers on short seasons, and—for the first time ever in a WGA contract—a provision guaranteeing secured family leave. "As someone who did a rewrite from the NICU when my daughter was born, I see this as a great development," Matt Byrne, a WGA member and writer on Scandal, told LAist.

“Our success in these negotiations was due to a highly engaged and dedicated membership, working in tandem with a tireless and informed Negotiating Committee and an extraordinary Guild staff. We achieved new and significant gains that will help today’s writers even as they benefit the next generation,” WGAW President Howard A. Rodman and WGAE President Michael Winship said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The terms of the new contract will remain in effect through May 1, 2020, so breathe a sigh of relief, binge-watchers; your favorite shows are safe for at least a couple seasons.