WGA Strikes End With Fair Deals Made!
Aiden Lutjen, contributor
After 148 grueling days of striking and picketing in the summer heat, the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA), which consists of film, television, radio and online media writers, declared the strike over on Sept. 27 after finally reaching an agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). This marks the end of one of the multiple ongoing strikes. Strikes that have yet to end include actors and auto workers and other strikes that are strongly debating happening include video game workers and healthcare workers. At this point, I think it’s safe to declare 2023 as the year of the unions.
The strike initially started due to writers and their studios being unable to come to a new contract agreement by the set date. Writers wanted better pay, better benefits, protections from AI, among other requirements and these were rejected by the studios. This back-and-forth process would continue for the entirety of the strike; Hollywood studios continued to push back on properly protecting and compensating their writers.
Striking isn’t always successful unfortunately, and I personally believe that the writers ended up with such a good deal due to the combined effects of several things: the writers pure and unwavering determination as well as the solidarity other unions and popular figures showed. Along with Hollywood executives publicly making themselves look utterly horrible, which sparked further outrage from not just the writers, but the general public as well. The power in numbers and “peer pressure” against studios that Hollywood writers managed to gain, I believe, was monumental in their win in this fight for better treatment. I don’t know about you guys, but publically saying you’re waiting for writers to become homeless and broke isn’t exactly a great way to gain the public’s support. But then again, so many of these executives and CEOs are so painfully disconnected from the average person’s experience that I’m not surprised that someone let it slip that they truly do not care whatsoever for other human beings’ livelihoods.
As happy as I am that the writers strike has come to an end with what has to be one of the best possible outcomes, I still can’t help but be upset by how long it took. Like, seriously, it took these CEOs and executives and other higher-ups 148 days to decide that they can spare to pay their writers liveable wages, decent benefits, and refrain from abusing them and their work? It took them this long to decide that these people deserve to be adequately compensated for their hard work? It took them this long to decide to invest in human beings’ creativity instead of the mindless, soulless “work” of AI (that isn’t even its own work in the first place, mind you)? That is just so utterly mind boggling and infuriating to me. I’m an art major who also dabbles in writing on the side myself, and I want to go into character and creature design for media like TV shows, movies and video games, so to see this kind of treatment of other creatives I hold so much respect and admiration for is just… sickening.
I only hope the same outcome appears for those actors that are still striking, to those auto workers striking, as well as unions for those hard working class people exploited for their craft and passion.