Wednesday, May 31, 2023

WGA Strike is Ka-booming...SAG/Aftra Strikes are Looming

 Special Strike Edition

(May 3rd, 2023) — WGA - The union represent-ing 11,500 writers of film, TV and other entertainment has launched a strike. For the first time in 15 years, as Hollywood girded for a walkout with potentially widespread ramifications in a fight over fair pay in the streaming era.

(May 26,2023) As the Writers Guild of America strike wraps up its fourth week today -- with no end in sight -- the strikers will break from the picketing script that's defined the first month of their walkout and will, instead, take part in what's expected to be a large, multi-union rally in downtown. 

The strike has been having an impact on television viewing, with late-night talk shows and "Saturday Night Live'' all forced into reruns. The walkout has also prompted numerous television and film productions to shut down as other union members refused to cross the picket lines. The last WGA strike lasted from November 2007 until February 2008.

SagAftra unions are marking our solidarity with WGA. On a project that continues production while the WGA is on strike, you are legally obligated to continue working  in any capacity covered ... and employed under both capacities on a production, such as writer/actor, you must continue working as an actor. 

Sag-Aftra is nearing the end of its contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the Hollywood studios, and last week, its leaders called for a strike authorization vote as labor negotiations approach. Watch Celeb Members ask to Vote

The AMPTP has pushed back against some of the WGA's demands, particularly around its calls for mandatory staffing and employment guarantees on programs. AMPTP has also pushed back against WGA demands around streaming residuals, saying the guild's offer would increase rates by 200%.

The use of artificial intelligence has emerged as a major topic as well. 

The WGA says it wants a ban on the use of AI, and contends the AMPTP has refused to even negotiate the issue. The AMPTP said the issue raises "important creative and legal questions" and requires "a lot more discussion, which we've committed to doing."

Fran Drescher (President Sag/Aftra) wrote: On June 7, Sag-Aftra will enter into negotiations with the trade association representing major studios, streamers and production companies

We are united in support of the WGA and I thank all of the Sag-Aftra members who are showing solidarity with their strike. For those who haven’t yet been able to do so, I hope you will join me and others in supporting the writers on a picket line. 

As a member of the WGA, I can say firsthand the contributions made by writers cannot be undermined, diminished or cheapened. I’ve said it a thousand times, “If it ain’t on the page, it ain’t on the stage!”

Even while we are showing strong public support to our sister union, we are privately finalizing and preparing for our own negotiations. Let me unpack that process briefly so you can feel confident that no stone has been left unturned. 

We must focus on modernizing our outdated and conservative contract. It is essential that we reshape our agreement to better reflect the new digital, A. I. ramifications and streaming business model that is rapidly changing our industry.

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