At midnight PT on May 2, 2023, the WGA was forced to go on strike because their proposals to the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on core contract issues made no progress in protecting writers in Hollywood. It has been 15 years since the WGA's last strike against the industry's treatment of writers.
In the wake of this strike, many other unions and organizations are showing their support for the WGA.
In its updated Guidance issued on Tuesday, WGGB Chair Lisa Holdsworth wrote:
“We continue to show our solidarity with our sister union and their members in the U.S. as they embark on industrial action to secure fair pay, decent working conditions and to gain their rightful share in the future financial successes of their work. We know that strike action is a last resort and one that requires individual sacrifice. The resounding majority of WGA members who voted for this action have shown the collective strength of their feeling and their resolve to stand firm on issues that affect writers the world over.”
According to Deadline, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) “sent out guidance to its members over the strike and reminded them not to work on U.S. shows for its duration.” To express solidarity with the WGA, WGGB members have been told that they will be removed and blacklisted from the Guild if they cross the picket line and take on work within a WGA jurisdiction.
“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,” said the WGGB, echoing a similar statement made by the WGA late last week.
Other organizations that are standing in solidarity with WGA in their fight to win a fair contract are SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, AFM Musicians, Teamsters Local 399 Leaders, and the slew of celebrities like Seth Meyers, Amanda Seyfried, Jimmy Fallon, and Quinta Brunson.
“We support the writers represented by the Writers Guild of America West and the Writers Guild of America East in their collective fight to win a fair contract,” states AFM President Ray Hair in a Guidance issued on April 27th, 2023. “Writers are the backbone of the entertainment industry. They deserve to be paid fairly for their work in films, network television series, cable, and new media productions. Streaming services are now the dominant force in the entertainment industry, and we stand with the writers asking to be compensated fairly for their work.”
The importance of this strike cannot be overstated. It is a call for justice, fairness, and respect for the writers who bring our stories to life. The demand for fair compensation for their work on streaming films and TV shows, proper staffing, and protection from the encroachment of artificial intelligence is not just a demand for the writers themselves, but for everyone in Hollywood and beyond.
Writers' strikes serve as a vital means for writers to voice their concerns and negotiate better terms with their employers. They raise awareness of the crucial role that writers play in the entertainment industry and in shaping our cultural landscape. As filmmakers and members of this community, we have a duty to support and uplift our writers and their fight for fair and equal treatment.
At No Film School, we stand in solidarity with the WGA in their struggle. To not care about writers is to not care about human stories. We will follow this strike as it unfolds, and we urge all of Hollywood to take notice and take action. It is time to value and respect the work of writers and to recognize their vital contributions to the art of storytelling.