The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has announced that its 11,500 screenwriter members in California, New York and other cities are on strike, demanding better pay and conditions, and safeguards in place against AI.
It has been 15 years since the last industrial action in 2007, which lasted 100 days and cost the California economy an estimated $2.1 bn.
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On today’s The Briefing episode, we go inside the strike with writer Josh Gondelman who used to work on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, to find out exactly what’s going on.
Mr Gondelman is a comedian who has spent the last decade writing for a number of high-profile TV shows. He has been out on the picket lines every morning in New York.
He said that every three years, the WGA, the union for writers, would negotiate the terms of its minimum bargaining agreement with some prominent association of studios.
This year, we came in with what we thought was a pretty reasonable set of proposals that would help ensure that writing status, sustainable career and didn’t become kind of a gig economy type job,”Mr Gondelman said.
They came back and basically said: No, we are not going to grant you these deserved and reasonable concessions.”
Mr Gondelman said significant changes were happening to the industry; the median compensation had decreased four per cent in the last 10 years. After adjusting for inflation, it went down 23 per cent.
We don’t want to be on strike. I think everyone would rather go back to work and earn a paycheck and make work that they’re really proud of, but what’s happening now is we didn’t get these fair contracts,”he added.
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