Thousands of striking actors and writers rallied across the US on Tuesday in what has been called a "National Day of Unity". Writers went on strike for nearly four months and actors for nearly two months, a historic "double strike" not seen since 1960.
SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild of America (WGA), in cooperation with the American Federation of Labor-Confederation of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO), have reflected two opposing forces on "Solidarity Day." strength or social orientation.
On the one hand, a large number of actors and writers came to Los Angeles, New York and Chicago to hold large gatherings to demonstrate the great power of the film and television workers. The unbridled greed and ruthlessness of entertainment executives and the havoc wreaked on their careers has enraged writers and actors determined to fight for their jobs and their conditions.
On the other hand, the statements (or unspoken) of various union workers on stage at these rallies suggest that they secretly made major concessions and "compromises" at the bargaining table.
Writers and actors know that the future of their profession is at stake. open quoteletterPosted by the regulars who helped prompt them to strike in the first place: “What could be considered a good deal in any other year is simply not enough... With inflation and streaming continuing to grow, we need a seismic restructuring” No different in a “transformative deal”.
However, the rally suggests that nothing resembling a "major adjustment" and "transformative deal" is planned. Neither SAG-AFTRA nor WGA leadership has any strategy to advance members' interests.
At none of the rallies were the details of the contract negotiations discussed, only the vaguest and most solid union phrases like "unity", "union", "union power", "when we fight back..." these bland cheerleading ching , with no substance. Any and all reporting of what is actually happening is there to leverage employee motivation and determination. Officials resorted to cheap "activism" while leaving workers exhausted and ready to sell out.
To some extent, any significant comments were made by some of the actors themselves, who expressed in good faith the concerns of their colleagues. For example, Ron Perlman, speaking at a rally outside Disney in Los Angeles, said, "We're living in an age of total gaslighting, and we're not going to keep it any longer." He received rapturous applause.
If the WGA is able to push for a deal that benefits its members, it has nothing to hide and will let the writers know what is going on. Instead, the most likely scenario is that once an agreement is reached, the guild will call a vote as soon as it knows that the writers' demands have not been met. The WGA can only hope its jaded, financially struggling writers will accept the notion that the deal is "historic," the same claims made in 2008 that set the stage for the struggles writers now face.
So far, there has been no discussion of the specifics of the negotiations, suggesting that WGA management and soon SAG-AFTRA are ready to strike a "compromise" with the Association of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), which will have nothing to gain by essentially solving the problems faced by actors and writers, which in turn have their careers destroyed.
Threats to strike are also reflected inWHOSAG-AFTRA and WGA invited speakers:
IATSE Vice President Mike Miller (Los Angeles): Responsible for 2021IATSE workers betrayed. The agreement is a salary reduction adjusted for inflation. The bill was rejected by more than 50% of members, but was passed due to IATSE's undemocratic "election" system. Meanwhile, Miller earned $343,000 in his second year, far beyond the dreams of almost any IATSE member.
Randy Weingarten (New York), President, American Federation of Teachers (AFT): She orchestrateduncertain return to schoolDuring the epidemic, they ignored the wishes of millions of teachers and openly sided with "herd immunity" advocates. Weingarten's 2022 earnings are $543,562.
Lindsay Dougherty (Los Angeles), Secretary and Treasurer, Truck Driver Local 399: Dougherty ispromotionAs a would-be "reform" labor leader in the Truckers bureaucracy. In recent weeks and months, Teamsters union leadership has largely focused on betraying UPS workers, again dismissing a short-selling deal as "historic."
Any IATSE member who listened to Miller on stage preach "unity" would know something was at work. The recent fate of teachers, UPS workers and former IATSE workers across the country speaks of destruction and betrayal of workers rather than victory.
Also speaking was SAG-AFTRA Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the most important official in the SAG-AFTRA bureaucracy. He kept praising other unions for "refusing to strike," but SAG-AFTRA did just that by agreeing to various "interim agreements," including one with America's richest company, Apple. The members have no influence on the matter.
Furthermore, SAG-AFTRA, under the leadership of Crabtree-Ireland, has made every effort toavoidGo on strike until pressured by the members. He earned a staggering $989,700 (over $1,000,000 in total compensation) in the last fiscal year, a number that sets him apart from many of the struggling SAG-AFTRA members.
Actors and writers be warned: betrayal is brewing.
The most important thing film and television workers can do is to find sympathetic colleagues and start forming general committees to wrest democratic control of the struggle from union representatives. As with anything, workers need their own way of exchanging information and having serious discussions about what is going on andwhat is going to happen.
existsNew York, The Wall Street Journal interviewed several SAG-AFTRA workers at the rally in Hudson Yards.
Alphonso Walker Jr. started his career in theater but has been involved in television and film for 10 years.
"I work full time, but after taxes," he told our reporter, "plus everything else they take away, I can't live on the money I make. I get a $1.61 bill from a major network show ." Remaining payment, additional 33 cents refund. Most SAG-AFTRA members do not earn $30,000 to get a health plan. When I turn off the TV, I can't buy anything more. Manager, half my checks go to taxes."
Theater and television actor Chris Tames explained to The Wall Street Journal: "My grandfather told me that money rules the world. That's what happens in this country. You should be able to pay rent, buy things and be able to take care of ourselves. I think life balance is an important issue. People are overworked. We have to protect our freedom, so it's not just about pay."
existsengle, The Wall Street Journal spoke with writers, editors and cast members at the demonstration outside Disney Studios.
Matt, a writer, shows off the remaining check he received for writing an episode of Netflix's hour-long flagship show. The face value of the check is 68 cents. Matt commented: "Today's strike situation is very different from 2007 (the last WGA strike). Back then, streaming was small and we were still paid well." In contrast, today's workers are becoming more vulnerable, but also more determined to fight.
Anna, a WGA graduate, said: "I have many friends who want to be successful in the film industry, but it is very difficult to enter the film industry and earn enough salary to buy an apartment and make a living." every writer at WGA, there are more hopefuls like Anna, who works as a production assistant with writers in the "writing room" and hopes to one day become a full-time writer.
"They're cutting writing jobs and writing room jobs, and I think it's terrible that they're cutting those jobs because that's how we make a living. We need those jobs throughout production, and they need to bring those jobs back and stop reducing."
An IATSE member who is an editor also came to Los Angeles for a demonstration in support of the strike. "This is a movement that goes beyond one or two unions, it's about the whole future of our profession," said George, who did not give his name for the sake of anonymity, explaining that he had voted "no" for 2021 IATSE contract.
"Television writers aren't just writers, they're producers of shows," he continued. "Traditionally, when the process was going on, writers were involved with producers every step of the way on the show. Now that's no longer the case." George explained that writers are increasingly being hired on a piecemeal basis, while not during actual films.
"It's not just write a script and it's done. They'll tweak it, they'll tweak it, they'll go to an editor, they'll write new sections. So the idea of scaling it down and having one or two people , who is writing the script, was a big deal for me. Call it crazy."