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'S' is for solidarity, not strike. 'Sesame Street' writers reach a deal

In this 2008 file photo, Big Bird reads to Connor Scott and Tiffany Jiao during a taping of <em>Sesame Street</em> in New York.
Mark Lennihan
/
AP
In this 2008 file photo, Big Bird reads to Connor Scott and Tiffany Jiao during a taping of Sesame Street in New York.

Updated April 19, 2024 at 8:43 PM ET

Writers for Sesame Street and their management reached a tentative three-year agreement late Friday, just ahead of a looming deadline for a union-authorized strike.

The deal offers writers minimums for animation and new media programs, paid parental leave, protections against artificial intelligence and new media residuals.

" 'S' truly is for Solidarity," the Writers Guild of America Sesame Workshop Negotiating Committee said in a statement. "We are glad to have a contract in place that allows Sesame to do what it does best – lead."

Thirty-five WGA union members had unanimously authorized a strike earlier this week if a deal wasn't made by Friday. They will vote on the new agreement in the coming days.

"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," said a spokesperson for Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces the mainstay children's program.

The union and Sesame Workshop began negotiating a new contract for the writers in February.

The threatened strike would have started Wednesday, outside of Sesame Workshop's offices in New York City.

"Sesame Workshop writers won a new agreement that recognizes the value of the incredible work they do to educate and enlighten children around the world," WGAE President Lisa Takeuchi Cullen said in a statement.

The 54th season of the show began in November and contains 35 weekly episodes.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]
Rachel Treisman (she/her) is a writer and editor for the Morning Edition live blog, which she helped launch in early 2021.