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Writers' Strike Averted as WGA Makes Tentative Deal With Studios

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A WGA member at Monday's May Day rally in Los Angeles. (Photo by Julia Wick/LAist)
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After a tense midnight negotiation straight out of an episode of Scandal, the looming threat of a writers' strike is officially no more; the Writers Guild of America was able to hammer out a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, reports Deadline.

The WGA voted to authorize a potential writers' strike by a 96% margin on April 24 and vowed to stop work on upon expiration of their existing contract at midnight on Tuesday, May 2 if studios didn't agree to their demands for increased residuals, secured family leave and improved health and pension plans, among other issues. An entertainment-industry crisis was averted when the AMPTP signed off on a new three-year film and TV contract for WGA members that addressed many, if not all, of writers' grievances. "The WGA mobilized in a powerful way, and I believe we made a positive compromise," WGA member and strike captain Jonathan Caren told LAist, praising the new agreement's structural change to writer payment structure, increase in residuals, maternity/paternity plan and raises in minimums.

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Binge-watchers who remember being left without their TV fix during the 2006-'07 writers' strike should be particularly grateful for the last-minute brokering of peace between the WGA and the AMPTP, considering that the last scripted-TV strike allowed the schedule to be swallowed up by reality programming such as now-President Trump's The Celebrity Apprentice—and may have cost the industry up to 2.5 billion dollars, reports Esquire.

"I've never been so happy to not get a day off work," laughed TV writer and WGA member Lila Byock. "Being a writer can be scary and lonely, but it's a lot easier knowing you've got one of America's strongest unions backing you up," Byock, a former writer for The Leftovers, told LAist. "In an age of precarious health insurance protections and pernicious Right to Work laws, this negotiation is a demonstration of the power of collective bargaining."