Members of the Writers Guild of America have voted overwhelmingly to ratify the new three-year contract that was approved by the union’s leadership this month after a nail-biting round of negotiations with the major Hollywood studios.
The guild said in an announcement Wednesday that of the 3,647 votes cast, there were 3,617 “yes” votes, or 99.2%, versus 30 “no” votes, or less than 1%. There were 9,441 eligible voters. The new contract covers the period May 2, 2017, through May 1, 2020.
Negotiators for the WGA reached a tentative agreement with studios in the early hours of May 2 after a cliffhanger series of talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the bargaining organization that represents major Hollywood studios, networks and independent producers.
The negotiations focused on issues of compensation and benefits, with writers arguing that their incomes have declined in recent years as TV series have moved toward shorter seasons. The guild’s employer-funded health plan was also facing mounting deficits.
The WGA said earlier this month that the new agreement secures $65 million more in health plan contributions from employers as well as increases in minimum pay and residuals from streaming TV services such as Netflix and Amazon.
On Wednesday, WGA, West President Howard Rodman said in a statement that the new contract was “due to a highly engaged and dedicated membership, working in tandem with a tireless and informed negotiating committee and an extraordinary guild staff.”
The Directors Guild of America ratified its new three-year contract in January. SAG-AFTRA, which represents actors, was expected to begin negotiations with studios this month.