Sesame Workshop Writers Union Ratifies Contract

By Chanak Maduranga

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Sesame Workshop Writers Union Ratifies Contract

After mounting a strike threat that was later averted, Sesame Workshop writers have ratified a new five-year labor contract that their union president is touting as “groundbreaking.”

Twenty-eight out of the group of 35 workers voted to support a tentative deal reached on April 19, while the remaining seven abstained from voting. The Writers Guild of America East and West, which represent the workers, who write shows including Sesame StreetHelpsters and The Not Too Late Show With Elmo, announced the results on Friday.

The new agreement expands work that is covered under the union contract to include writing for all projects distributed on SVOD platforms, educational programs, new media videos that are shared on TikTok and YouTube and animated titles.

WGA East president Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said in a statement that the new contract contains “groundbreaking protections.” She added, “Make no mistake — these historic gains mark an important step in organizing animation. Writing for children’s media and animation isn’t easier than other forms of screenwriting, and those workers deserve the same protections.”

The new deal increases minimum wage rates by 3.5 percent in the first year of the contract and 3 percent in the second year. (Wage rate hikes for the subsequent three years will follow what the WGA wins in its 2026 Minimum Basic Agreement negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.) The Sesame Workshop bargaining unit clinched the same AI protections that the WGA won in its 2023 negotiations over the MBA, and pension, health and paid parental leave contributions will additionally track the language in the 2023 MBA. The Sesame Workshop deal includes “improvements to new media residuals” and higher minimum script fees, the WGA further stated.

The April 19 tentative deal arrived just days after Sesame Workshop writers unanimously voted to authorize a potential strike if an agreement was not reached by their contract’s expiration date. The writers were threatening to picket Sesame Workshop’s New York headquarters, but that work stoppage was precluded by a compromise reached on the final day before the contract’s expiration.

Geoff Betts, the WGA East director of contract enforcement & credits, led the negotiations for the union, while Taska Carrigan, Sesame Workshop svp of production management, operations, business affairs and legal, headed up negotiations for the employer.

Chanak Maduranga

passionate journalist behind 'USA News Now 24', dedicated to delivering timely and accurate updates on US affairs. Committed to journalistic integrity and informing audiences with credible news coverage.

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