Writers Guild of America reaches tentative deal with studios after nearly 5-month strike.
Senate to bring stopgap funding bill to pressure McCarthy and the House.
Thousands of Armenians fleeing Azerbaijan.
Writers Guild of America reaches tentative deal with studios after nearly 5-month strike
The union representing film and television writers has announced an “exceptional” deal with studios nearly 5 months after its membership walked out on strike. WGA leadership touted the deal as having “meaningful gains and protections for writers in every sector of the membership”.
After many years without major contract negotiations, writers had fallen behind in terms of both pay and job security. Even writers who worked on programs that saw massive success on streaming platforms like Netflix weren’t seeing that success reflected in their pay and residual checks. Many writers also feared their work would be plagiarized or replicated by artificial intelligence tools that are becoming commonplace.
WGA leadership says the tentative deal addresses all of these concerns, though full details are yet to be made public. Members must still read the agreement and vote on whether to ratify it. For now, WGA has suspended picketing but has encouraged their members to join pickets for SAG-AFTRA (which represents film and television actors) who have been on strike since July.
Assuming WGA members vote quickly to ratify the deal, talk shows and late night shows that have been off the air for months could soon return to the airwaves. Some films and popular television shows can also resume pre-production. However, filming and certain promotions won’t resume until the actors guild inks their own deal. SAG-AFTRA members had similar concerns to the WGA. Both unions hope the WGA deal will create a template for the SAG-AFTRA deal to follow.
Senate to bring stopgap funding bill to pressure McCarthy and the House
If the House and Senate do not agree on a funding measure by the end of this week, the federal will government will shutdown when the fiscal year ends September 30. In the House, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is now engaging in a war of words with hardline Republicans, but publicly and behind the scenes.
Far-right House Republicans who call themselves the Freedom Caucus are threatening to call a vote to unseat Speaker McCarthy if he attempts to pass any funding bill that doesn’t include their demands for deep budget cuts. Other Freedom Caucus members, notably Matt Gaetz, have threatened to call a vote for McCarthy to vacate unless McCarthy sets an impeachment vote against President Biden. In a closed-door meeting last week, McCarthy seemed to have visibly lost patience with his recalcitrant fellow Republicans, daring them to “file the f*cking motion“.
The Senate will vote tomorrow on a stopgap bill to fund the government. By passing this measure, they hope to pressure McCarthy to bring the bill to a vote. Senators believe their bill can pass with bipartisan support in the House if McCarthy brings it to the floor.
Thousands of Armenians fleeing Azerbaijan
Last week, Azerbaijan launched a military action in Nagorno-Karabakh an Armenian separatist region within their borders. The attack forced the Armenian rebels to surrender and disband and also shut down a rival Armenian-dominated government in the region. Nagorno-Karabakh has seen violent flare-ups of ethnic tension on and off for decades.
Campaigns of ethnic cleansing targeting Armenians have followed previous crackdowns by the Azerbaijani government. Fearing such a thing could happen again, many thousands of Armenians are fleeing towards neighboring Armenia ahead of the Azerbaijani government re-establishing control. There are an estimated 120,000 ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Local officials in the breakaway state said they plan to evacuate all of them before Azerbaijan proceeds to “reintegrate” the renegade region.