The Writers Guild of America, a group with 11,500 members, has been on strike for over 50 days. According to the writers, significant changes in the entertainment industry, mainly due to streaming and new technology, have created many problems for them.
This is the first big strike in Hollywood in 15 years, and it may last a while. Let’s take a look at what the writers are asking for:
First, they want to be paid more. Even though there are more jobs for writers because of all the streaming services, they are making less money than before. Ten years ago, about a third of TV writers made the minimum amount they could be paid. Now, almost half of them are making this minimum. When you consider how prices have increased over time, writers made about 14% less than five years ago. When considering inflation, the average weekly pay for writer-producers has also dropped by 23% over the last decade. Writers say that many of them aren’t making enough to live on. They also want better pensions and health benefits.
Next, writers are concerned about residuals, the money they make when their work is shown again or sold elsewhere. This used to be a big part of how writers made money. But now, shows and movies usually go on a streaming service, and that’s it. Streaming services don’t tell writers how many people are watching their stuff, so writers need to know how much their work is worth. The Writers Guild wants more money upfront to compensate for this loss in residuals.
Lastly, the Guild wants TV shows to guarantee that they’ll hire a certain number of writers for a certain amount of time. The problem is that now there are “mini rooms,” which are small groups of writers that work on a show before it’s inevitable that the show will be made. This means writers might work for a long time on a show that never happens. This kind of setup also gets around some of the rules that are supposed to protect writers from being overworked. This became more common during the COVID-19 pandemic when writers started meeting online.
In short, the Writers Guild of America is fighting for better pay, benefits, and working conditions for its members in an industry undergoing many changes.
- September 5, 2023
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