By Lillian Lewis
According to CNN, after 148 days of striking, the Writers Guild of America has finally reached a negotiation. The three-year contract being proposed would boost pay rates and residual payments for streaming shows and impose new rules surrounding the use of artificial intelligence. It would also still have to be ratified by the union’s 11,500 members.
The WGA first began their strike on May 2, with writers expressing that they are underpaid and are not given as many job opportunities because of streaming. Writers do not receive residuals in the same way as they did on cable because of the change to streaming. The fear of artificial intelligence replacing writers was also part of the WGA strike.
Not long after, SAG-AFTRA went on strike with 160,000 of their actors and other media personalities joined the picket line and refused to work on July 13. SAG-AFTRA is also fighting for pay changes along with fear of A.I. Actors are now afraid studios will digital replicas of actors without pay or permission.
Sounds like a Black Mirror episode. Oh, wait, it is…maybe that’s a little too scary.
Is this because of miscommunication? Executives not understanding the hard work that writers and actors put in to create the media we all love and watch. Perhaps it’s not staying updated on a system meant for cable when now most of us stream our favorite shows.
Or maybe it is just greed. Production companies taking advantage of a profession that already has many economic loopholes and using their intellectual property and hard work for dollars while their work makes them millions.
Actors and screenwriters have not striked at the same time since 1960 when Ronald Reagan was the head of the actors’ union. To help put it in perspective, the last time this happened segregation was still legal. So both unions striking is a big deal.
It makes it worse when studio executives have said they are waiting for union workers to be cash-stripped and are not being realistic. Not to mention cutting down trees strikers were using for shade.
The WGA strike being over is a victory but truthfully, it means nothing if SAG-AFTRA is not able to negotiate. New TV shows and movies like Percy Jackson and Five Nights at Freddy’s are not allowed any promotion which may hurt the studios.
Shows that were scheduled to go to the writing room like Abbot Elementary, The Last of Us, and even a Minecraft movie have been put on a halt because of both strikes.
Truthfully, there is no other profession that is going on strike every other decade. The greed in Hollywood is what keeps causing these strikes every few decades whether it’s writers, actors, or both.
If the problem is to be fixed, it needs to have set regulations for studio executives, not just a three-year contract. Laws need to be put in place to protect writers and actors. Otherwise, this will just keep going in a loop.