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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

On September 27th, 2023, the record-breaking 148-day Writers Guild of America strike finally came to an end, with the WGA and Hollywood studios finally reaching a deal that has been described as having an “increase [in] minimums, has rules about artificial intelligence, and will provide a bonus for viewership residuals on streaming.” Almost as record-breaking as the dates, however, is the amount of seedy business practices from studio heads and volatile relations between the guild and Hollywood as a whole. With almost five months of picketing, there’s a whole timeline of events that went into the deal we have today. 


With the highest-ever turnout for the union, the WGA passed a strike authorization vote, with 97.85% voting in favor of starting strikes upon the May 1st contract expiration. This would set a new record within the WGA for “percentage of support in a strike authorization vote.” 


The Writers Strike officially began after contract negotiations between WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers fell through due to AMPTP’s refusal to meet “mandatory staffing” and “duration of employment” clauses. 


Picketing officially begins outside of some of the most major studios in Los Angeles and New York City, with multiple writers carrying signs criticizing studio heads, AI, and noting the popularity of the shows many worked on. 


While delivering a commencement speech at Boston University, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, was booed, jeered, and chastised by graduates who chanted “Pay your writers.”  


Multiple stars, including Gilmore Girls’ Danny Strong and The Batman’s Colin Farrell, joined the picket line outside of Paramount’s Global office in NYC. Also, there was New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who had this to say to strikers: “It’s about the value of workers; workers and what they create is fundamentally valuable.”


With support from union groups like the International Affiliation of Writers Guilds, Federation of Screenwriters in Europe, and UNI Global Union, WGA support reaches global levels as writers, actors, and more took to picketing across the world. Picket locations included Netflix offices in Argentina and South Korea, Leicester Square in the U.K., and the Eiffel Tower. 


The Teamsters, one of America’s oldest, largest, and most diverse unions, created and donated a more than $2 million fund to assist WGA members struggling amidst the strike. 


Speaking to CNBC, Disney CEO, Bob Iger stated that “There’s a level of expectation that they have, that is just not realistic,” in response to questions surrounding their opinion on the WGA strikes. The reaction from writers on the picket line, many of whom wrote for Disney and companies under the conglomerate, viewed the statement as harsh and offensive, to say the least. 


After SAG-AFTRA contract negotiations fell through and eventually expired on June 30th, SAG-AFTRA members joined the picket line protesting abysmal residual checks and a lack of streaming-based clauses in their contracts. Amongst the protestors were stars like Mandy Moore, Ben Schwartz, Susan Sarandon, and more.


Returning again to little fanfare is Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, this time speaking on the fact that “the Hollywood writers and actors’ ongoing work stoppage had brought the company savings in the “low $100 million range” during its Q2 earnings results.


For the first time since May 1st and the beginning of the WGA strike, WGA and AMPTP met again in order to negotiate, but unfortunately, nothing came of these talks. 


Strikes reached a record-breaking 100 days, with WGA leadership announcing this 3-month record as “a milestone of shame for the AMPTP.”

Also by this time, multiple blockbuster films have had production halted, delayed to dates in 2024, or even indefinitely delayed. Films include Spiderman: Beyond the Spider-Verse, Challengers, Poor Things, Kraven the Hunter, Deadpool 3, and more yet to be titled. 


Deadline reports that Drew Barrymore’s daytime talk show, The Drew Barrymore Show, was returning to air for its fourth season and without its three union writers amidst the WGA strikes. This received immediate backlash from writers, viewers, and fans alike. So much so that 12 days later, on September 18th, Barrymore announced that she would be pausing the show until the strikes ended. 


The WGA announced that there was a tentative agreement reached between them and AMPTP after five days of negotiations, but that the strikes would continue until voting procedures within the guild were met. 


Following the signing of new contracts on behalf of all union members of the Writers Guild of America, picketing from screenwriters, screenplay writers, and more ended. 

However, that does not mean the fight for equality and fair work is over. SAG-AFTRA and actors are still on strike, and the United Auto Workers have joined the picket line to fight for better wages and workers’ rights. 

Amanda is a freshman studying at the University of Central Florida, but is originally from Miami and is half-Cuban, half-Costa Rican. She is pursuing a double-major in Political Science (Pre-Law) and English Literature. When her nose isn't stuck in a book, you can find her listening to music, playing with her dogs, or going on a nature walk.