UH's lifestyle and entertainment magazine - by students, for students

Graphic by: Alina Velasquez

If you’re looking forward to the new Deadpool movie or to the new season of Abbott Elementary, you might have to wait a long time to watch. The ​​Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are currently on strike with no end in sight.

The last time the WAG and SAG-AFTRA were both on strike was in 1960 when the actors were represented by former president Ronald Reagan. If history was to repeat itself, there is a good chance that Fran Drescher, the national president of SAG-AFTRA, will be the president of the U.S., sometime in the future. 

Start of the Strike

Two labor unions representing over 11,000 films, television, news, radio and online writers compose the WGA. On May 2, they called for a strike after the members overwhelmingly voted in the case negotiations failed. 

WGA demands include a higher and stable pay structure, fairer deals and contracts as well as provisions regarding artificial intelligence, according to a list of proposals by the union. 

“They have taken so much from the very people, the writers, who have made them wealthy. But what they cannot take from us is each other, our solidarity, our mutual commitment to save ourselves and this profession that we love,” the guild said while announcing the strike. 

The SAG-AFTRA went on strike on July 14, just two months after WGA. Similar to the writers union, SAG-AFTRA called for a strike after the members overwhelmingly voted to call one in case negotiations failed. 

The union is on strike due to concerns regarding regulating AI in entertainment, basic pay increase and compensation from streaming. The studios claim that SAG-AFTRA walked away from a deal that would have entailed more than $1 billion in compensation and benefit increases. 

“They plead poverty – that they’re losing money left and right – while giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs,” said Drescher while announcing the actor’s strike.

When Will the Strike End?

The last time the writers were on strike was in November 2007. The strike lasted until February 2008, when the union reached a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, who negotiate with Hollywood unions on behalf of entertainment producers such as Disney, Apple and Netflix. 

In 1988, a strike spanning 153 days over residuals was launched by the WGA. 

On Friday, the WGA sat down with AMPTP since contract negotiations stalled in May, but the meeting led nowhere. 

The WAG said while the AMPTP “is willing to increase their offer on a few writer-specific TV minimums—and (is) willing to talk about AI, (they) did not indicate willingness” to talk about other issues that are at stake such as success-based residual payments, according to the Hollywood Reporter. 

In an act of union solidarity, even if WAG reaches a deal, the writers will not cross the SAG-AFTRA picket line until both unions come to their agreements with AMPTP, according to Variety

Hollywood remains closed for business until both unions can read an agreeable deal with AMPTP.

Strike Guidelines

The SAG members are cannot talk about or promote their current and future projects. This goes for events and social media. The cast of ‘Oppenheimer,’ left their premiere in London as an act of union solidarity. There are some waivers granted by the union to allow indie productions to continue working. 

Similarly, WGA members can not attend meetings or talk about any new, pending or future projects with producers from any struck companies.

How Can You Help?

To aid the unions, you can show your support by joining the picket lines in LA or NYC. However, for those who don’t live in these cities, there are other ways you can help the strike.

The unions asked supporters to share their demands on social media. You can use the WGA Strike Social Media Toolkit and Social Toolkit for TV/Theatrical/Streaming — and learn how to effectively join the #WGAStrong, #WGAStrike and #SAGAFTRAStrong causes.

You can support the unions by pledging your solidarity and joining SAG-AFTRA or signing the WGA’s letter of support for contract negotiations.

The writers and actors are not being paid right now, according to strike rules. You can help with donations to the Entertainment Community Fund — founded in 1882 to support artists and their families who were denied charity due to their low standing. 

You can also participate in food and practical support drives as well as help power the picket lines. 

While the unions have not called for a consumer boycott of the companies, some individual members have. Visit the guild’s strike pages — WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes — to stay updated.

[email protected]

About the Author

Related Posts

Throughout my life, I have had trouble connecting with South Asian cuisine. Largely because I felt...

Graphic by: Len Duenas When you think of Houston, nightlife probably isn’t the first thing that...

Graphic by: Len Duenas It took me three years, but I did not cry when my parents drove away...