Opinions

Actors Strike Ends, Corporate Greed Still Sucks

Aiden Lutjen, staff writer

While writers across the country were able to go back to work on Sept. 27 with at least some peace of mind, actors had yet to reach that point. Thankfully, as of Nov. 9, American actors can now join them in having contracts that don’t treat them like complete garbage. Let’s cover some of the tipping points for the strike in the first place.

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have been on strike since July 14, demanding better pay, better benefits and protections from AI, among other vital points. Despite initially making good progress towards a deal before July 14, such positivity was never meant to last in the face of corporate greed; the voices of Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) went on to claim the actors asking for their basic needs to be met and to not be used just once only to be completely disregarded afterward was “not realistic” in today’s day and age, reported via The Los Angeles Times. 

They then went on to pat themselves on the back and reward themselves with the “I’m so generous and kind” award by stating that they “presented a deal that offered historic pay and residual increases” but that “The union has regrettably chosen a path that will lead to financial hardship for countless thousands of people who depend on the industry.” Wow! Way to have the nerve to blame the victims of the situation for the hardship and abuse you’re literally currently putting them through! But that isn’t new for Hollywood, now is it? 

Oh, but it gets worse. AMPTP continually belittled and infantilized the actors union throughout attempts to come to an agreement even before the official start of the strike, not to mention the plethora of streaming services that would not cooperate with literally anyone whatsoever on giving up viewership numbers and other basic info. The cherry on top of this trainwreck sundae has to be the AMPTP telling actors that they wouldn’t be willing to move forward on negotiations until they acted “in a civilized manner” in the very last few minutes of the initial contract deadline extension. Perhaps that right there was the final nail in AMPTP’s coffin of plans to stay on track for any upcoming productions, but who knows. Either way, I hope they eat those oh so wise words.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled actors have joined the ranks of working class people with half decent benefits and protections — a far too rare breed — but I will never forget the utter disrespect AMPTP, the companies it represents and so many other companies outside of the film industry have for the average American. I already expressed this in my article on the end of the writers strike, but I’ll reiterate: it’s hard for me personally to celebrate while knowing that such utter lack of care for human life exists in businesses EVERYWHERE. How are any of us supposed to feel supported by our superiors in our work environment if this is what we see, hear and experience in our day-to-day lives? Yet again we can only rely on other average people, other working individuals and the unions we form to protect us because if we didn’t we’d be thrown around like a toddler’s dirty ragdoll only to be left in the street to rot. I beg for someone to change my mind.