WGA Sets Strike Rules: Do NOT Scab!

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'Norma Rae'Credit: 20th Century Fox
The WGA is trying to get a deal that makes life easier for all, so stop undermining them. 

On Monday, May 1st, there might be a writer strike. It will happen because the agreement between the WGA and the AMPTP has expired. If they don't reach a new agreement, a strike happens. Writers hit the picket lines and will not work until a fair deal is reached. 

The WGA released a set of rules designed to inform members and non-members what they can and cannot do while the strike continues. The rules are pretty explicit. The WGA says, "The principle behind the Rules is simple: you (or your agent or other representative acting on your behalf) may not meet or negotiate with a struck company; and you may not provide writing services, sell or option literary material to a struck company."

Now, I cannot believe this has to be said but, please, do not try to use this to your advantage during this time.

Don't try to scab to get ahead. 

It's not worth it. 

It's a crappy thing to do. 

You will burn your chance at getting into a union that is actively trying to secure the best situation for writers across the industry. 

Do not scab!

Scabbing is crossing the picket line. It's doing work for companies when the ultimate power held by writers at this time is not doing work, so we can use collective power to ensure we are taken care of in the future. The WGA is a union that exists to protect the rights and interests of its members.

By scabbing, you are putting your own interests ahead of the collective interests of your fellow writers. This goes against the principles of solidarity and unity that underpin unionism.

You don't have to be in the WGA to scab. You could be a writer who thinks this is the best time to query agents, managers, or production companies. Stop.

You may be someone speccing for a big producer. Stop. 

The WGA has made this very clear, saying:

"This policy has been strictly enforced in the past and has resulted in convincing many would be strikebreakers to refrain from harming the Guild and its members during a strike. Therefore, it is important for members to report to the Guild the name of any non-member whom you believe has performed writing services for a struck company and as much information as possible about the non-member’s services."

Zero famous writers broke into the industry by scabbing. None. 

The entertainment industry has a history of exploiting writers, often through low pay, poor working conditions, and inadequate benefits. By scabbing, you are perpetuating this cycle of exploitation and making it more difficult for writers to secure fair treatment in the future.

Please, do not do it. 

And if you have a question about whether or not a certain activity is scabbing, reach out to the WGA and ask.      

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Your Comment


"Zero famous writers broke into the industry by scabbing. None."

There are more non-famous writers than famous writers, so this point is meaningless. Seriously, most people could name maybe five screenwriters and recognize in person even fewer.

Honestly, if the WGA doesn't want you, it's not going to harm you in any way to try and get some work; what's the WGA going to do, kick you out?

Eat a dick, now's the time for a struggling non-WGA writer to get work.

April 28, 2023 at 9:29AM, Edited April 28, 9:33AM

Z Petes

If you were good enough to break in, you would have already broken in. Good luck, chump!

April 28, 2023 at 2:37PM

Jason Hellerman


April 28, 2023 at 9:31AM, Edited April 28, 9:33AM

Z Petes

Good article, Jason. Thanks!

Question another writer asked me, but I don’t have a good answer for: how does this affect things like writing contests? I know many of the major contests rely on industry judges from various different aspects of writing and production. Should we expect those to delay as well? Is submitting to a contest now technically scabbing?

Inquiring minds want to know!

May 2, 2023 at 8:20AM

Bryan Howell
Screenwriter, corporate videographer, and indie filmmaker