FIFTY days into a strike with no end in sight, about 1,000 Hollywood writers and their supporters marched and rallied in Los Angeles for a new contract with studios that includes payment guarantees and job security.
Speakers at the Writers Guild of America’s WGA Strong March and Rally for a Fair Contract on Wednesday emphasized the broad support for their cause shown by other Hollywood unions — including actors in their own contract negotiations — and labor at large.
“We’re all in it together, we’re all fighting the same fight, for a sustainable job in the face of corporate greed,” Adam Conover, a writer and a member of the guild’s board and its negotiating committee, told a crowd at the end of the march at the La Brea Tar Pits. “We are going to win because they need us. Writers are the ones who stare at a blank page. We are the ones who invent the characters, tell the stories and write the jokes that their audiences love. They’d have nothing without us.”
Talks with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the group representing studios in negotiations, have not resumed since breaking off hours before the writers’ contract expired on May 1. The strike began a day later, with more and more productions shutting down as it has gone on.
A similar deadline now looms for actors, whose union, SAG-AFTRA, is negotiating with the AMPTP on a contract that expires June 30. Members voted overwhelmingly to authorize guild leaders to call a strike if no deal is reached.
Streaming and its ripple effects are at the center of the dispute. The guild says that even as series budgets have increased, writers’ share of that money has consistently shrunk.
The AMPTP says writers’ demands would require they be kept on staff and paid when there is no work for them, and that its contract proposals have been generous.
“We are here for the sake of the profession we love,” writer Liz Alper said at Wednesday’s rally. “The industry we work in, our audiences, our fellow sister unions in Hollywood, and all the workers across America who have been hurt and disenfranchised by Wall Street and big tech.”
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