Political leaders in the US and other industry labour organisations have been reacting to the tentative contract agreement between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Hollywood companies, casting the agreement as a hopeful development in what has been characterised as America’s ‘hot labour summer.’
President Joe Biden applauded the agreement as “a testament to the power of collective bargaining,” and made glancing reference to other groups currently involved in strike actions, like the SAG-AFTRA actors union and the United Auto Workers union.
“There simply is no substitute for employers and employees coming together to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement that makes a business stronger and secures the pay, benefits, and dignity that workers deserve,” said Biden’s statement. “I urge all employers to remember that all workers – including writers, actors, and autoworkers – deserve a fair share of the value their labor helped create.”
Gavin Newsom, governor of California, issued a statement saying the state’s entertainment industry “would not be what it is today without our world class writers. For over 100 days, 11,000 writers went on strike over existential threats to their careers and livelihoods — expressing real concerns over the stress and anxiety workers are feeling. I am grateful that the two sides have come together to reach an agreement that benefits all parties involved, and can put a major piece of California’s economy back to work.”
The Directors Guild of America, which reached a new deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) a month after the writers strike began, congratulated the WGA and said it has been “proud to support the writers in their fight for a fair deal and look forward to reviewing the details of the agreement. Now it’s time for the AMPTP to get back to the table with SAG-AFTRA and address the needs of performers.”
The Writers Guild of Canada (WGC), which shares many members with the WGA and is set to start its contract talks with the Canadian Media Producers Association next month, called the US agreement “a victory for workers in our industry.”
During the strike, said the statement, “WGC members supported the WGA by refusing struck work, rallying in solidarity both in Canada and the US, and by speaking out on WGA’s key issues in the media. The combined strikes have had a detrimental impact on production in Canada. While we wait for the WGA deal to be released and ratified, we hope for a speedy resolution with SAG-AFTRA.”
WGC executive director Victoria Shen added that the Canadian group “will be looking very closely at the details of the deal” as it prepares for its own talks.
For the Teamsters union, motion picture and theatrical trade division director Lindsay Dougherty congratulated the WGA for “their fight, tenacity and resolve to achieve a tentative agreement. Since day one, the militancy of the writers holding the line and hitting the pavement exemplified their unwavering commitment to their core issues. Their fight has also inspired a renewed solidarity among all Hollywood workers that will live on long past this bargaining cycle.”
The Teamsters stated added, however, that “[t]he antiquated bargaining playbook of the AMPTP caused these negotiations to be intentionally dragged on longer than necessary. Their tactics have left many questioning the function, effectiveness and longevity of this multi-employer bargaining entity. While we commend and continue to stand in solidarity with the writers, we call upon the AMPTP to take no pause for a victory lap. With our brothers and sisters of SAG-AFTRA still on strike, and an industry at a complete standstill for over five months, workers deserve to see the employers swiftly return to the table to make good on their proclaimed commitment to bring Hollywood back to life.”