The Solidarity of the Writers Strike is Being Tested

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Business Manager: Brendan Flaherty


It’s been almost 20 weeks since the launch of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Writers Guild of America (SAG AFTRA/WGA) began striking against the film industry. 

So what exactly has been achieved, and what hasn’t?

The strike started on May 2nd and shows no sign of slowing down.

The strike was started due to a lack in how much writers were being paid, which happened to coincide with the ending of a previous contract with Hollywood Studios.

The writers felt as if they were not being paid sufficiently, especially with the rise in television/film content. The demands of the streaming age have brought overwhelming amounts of stress to writers and actors. 

There have since been many projects that were pushed back and delayed due to the strike and the lack of workers to carry out the film industry’s demands. 

For example, the expected sequel to the newest Spider-Man movie, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, has an unsure release date. Although the date is fairly far out, it could change by a few months or even a year, depending on the status of the strike, as writers and voice actors refuse to put work into the project without being paid fairly.

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As mentioned in a previous article, the Alliance of Motion Picture Television Producers (AMPTP) has been in a stalemate with the striking guilds for a long time now. Both sides expect the other to make the first move towards a solution.

However, amid all the controversy, some showrunners have come together to talk with WGA negotiators on behalf of the strike members, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The showrunners in question have come from a few well-known shows such as Black-ish, Fargo, and Mr. Robot. This new meeting has arisen in the hopes that some progress can be made towards the goals of those who are striking.

The WGA initially thought that a meeting with producers and executives wasn’t a good idea, but after much deliberation, they have changed their minds and will now go ahead with the meeting.

Despite these conversations, tensions are still high. Two separate plans have been drafted up and trashed due to the showrunners’ being careful not to ally to one side or another too much.

The showrunners feared that any sort of collaboration with the AMPTP “could be considered a crack in the WGA’s solidarity.” according to an article from The Hollywood Reporter. This would further the tension between showrunners and their writers, possibly prolonging the strike for individual shows.

In the article, Steve Levitan (co-creator of Modern Family), says, “I, like everybody, am frustrated with how long this has been dragging on… We all thought this would be over by Labor Day,”

He goes on to discuss how, despite the exhaustion and discouragement, striking has also brought the community together.

If anything is to be gained out of this whole ordeal, it’s a renewed sense of solidarity between showrunners and their writers and actors that they’ve worked with.

This newfound solidarity is about to be tested very soon, as a few shows are starting to come back to the screens while the strike rages on.

The two most prominent shows to return to television amidst the strike are The Drew Barrymore Show and Real Time with Bill Maher.

Barrymore’s move to bring her show back on the air is a questionable one at best, seeing as she has previously supported the strike and making this sudden betrayal hurtful to those she previously stood with. Her decision acquired the attention of writers, and they started picketing outside her show.

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On September 17th, Barrymore put out an apology for her actions on her Instagram

Bill Maher’s return is not as sympathetic as Barrymore’s. In an article from The Washington Post, Maher says, “The writers have important issues that I sympathize with… but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns.”

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Although harsh, Maher does prove something by pointing out that not only the writers are being affected by this strike.

The question now is, who will break first? The AMPTP or the writers’ guilds that have come together to take on the injustice they have been faced with?

The writers’ guild will surely be challenged as the TV shows come back to the television screens and the talk show hosts return to their regularly scheduled programs.

As of right now, the meetings are currently ongoing, and the matter of the strike is subject to change. 

New information and updates on the strike are being released daily. Once a concrete solution or a major update occurs in these negotiations, a future article will be published covering the matter.


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