The 2023 WGA/SAG-AFTRA Strike—Simplified

The Writers Guild of America’s (WGA) strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) has now gone on for over 100 days. SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) joined the walkout in July. There is a lot in the news and on social media about this or that aspect of the combined strike, but it may be that not everyone is sure what is at stake. Here then is a summary of the issues involved in this entertainment industry strike.

What the WGA Wants

  • Increase pay across the board: nearly half of WGA members are paid the minimum rate. Along with this proposed rate hike, the WGA wants increases in their pension plan and health fund.
  • Better residuals: Currently, films and series are put into streaming services, which do not pay nearly the same as traditional syndication or overseas sales. Writers are particularly interested in higher residual pay based on popularity of streaming series.
  • Staffing requirements: basically, the WGA “wants TV shows to staff a certain number of writers for a period of time. Current practice does not allow for protections from being overworked and understaffed.”
  • Shorter exclusivity deals: current TV series have much shorter seasons, which reduces per-episode pay and can limit writers from working on other programs.
  • Assurance on AI: WGA is demanding that “AI cannot produce original material, rewrites, and source material.” Writers are also demanding that union-covered material cannot be used to train AI systems.

What SAG-AFTRA Wants

What the AMPTP Wants

There are other points, but these are the main ones. It is interesting to note that the major sticking points, other than base pay, AI use, and profit-sharing for streaming are issues that have arisen during the last 20 years with the advent of those new technologies. Thus it does seem appropriate for adjustments to be made. Exactly what those adjustments will look like remains to be seen.

Date: Sunday, 13. August 2023 22:17
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