ONE BIG THING: ACTORS JOIN WRITERS IN HISTORIC HOLLYWOOD STRIKE
Why it Matters
The entertainment industry is a key driver of LA’s economy, and the production of film and television touches so many other businesses in our city. A resumption of work with fair contracts would affect everyone in Hollywood. It could lead to better worker protections and more income for a shrinking middle class in Los Angeles.
Why is this happening?
The Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA) has been negotiating a new contract with the studios for over a month. Like the Writer’s Guild (WGA), their demands center on better compensation and benefits, fair residuals from streaming companies, protections against AI, and regulations on unpaid work – for the actors, this centers on the arduous audition process.
As with the WGA, negotiations have been hotly contested, with reports that the studios refuse to even meet halfway on several key issues.
One reason the studios seem to be taking such a hard line was revealed when a studio executive leaked the strategy behind their refusal to go back to the bargaining table:
“The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses”
Why it’s historic
The Actors and the Writers haven’t teamed up like this since 1960, a full generation ago. That strike led to crucial benefits for workers in the industry. They won healthcare and pension benefits, and also established film residuals – one of the most important forms of compensation for both actors and writers. Residuals pay a worker for every re-run, physical sale, or stream of the movie or TV show that worker created. A key element of this current strike is that the workers say streaming residuals are unfairly low, considering the exponentially larger amount of views their work now receives.