Sesame Workshop reaches tentative collective bargaining agreement with writers’ union

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Sesame Workshop writers represented by the Writers Guild of America, East have reached a tentative agreement with management on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement.

The 35-member bargaining unit will vote to ratify the agreement in the coming days, according to a news release from WGAE. The agreement includes minimum rates for animation and new media programs produced by Sesame Workshop, paid parental leave benefits, increased new media residuals, and protections against the use of artificial intelligence to write scripts.

“We are so proud to work for an organization that values its writers, and we believe this new contract will positively impact writers throughout the children’s media landscape. ‘S’ truly is for Solidarity,” said the Sesame Workshop Negotiating Committee in a collective statement. “We are glad to have a contract in place that allows Sesame to do what it does best — lead.”

A Sesame Workshop spokesperson said in a statement that the organization values its writers “and their significant contributions to the creative process, which are integral to our ability to deliver on our nonprofit mission. This agreement is a testament to our dedication to our creative talent, and we appreciate the WGA’s collaboration in working with us to establish this new industry benchmark.”

Sesame Workshop is the New York–based nonprofit that oversees Sesame Street and other educational initiatives focused on children. The guild’s previous contract expired Friday, and if it had been allowed to lapse without a new tentative agreement in place, the union was planning to picket outside Sesame’s offices starting Wednesday.

Contract negotiations with the bargaining unit began Feb. 13. In the news release, WGAE President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said the agreement “recognizes the value of the incredible work” done by writers. “Workers win when they stand together,” she said.

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