The Writers Guild of America rallied for a call to action on May 2. The Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists joined the battle the very next month on a revolutionary date: July 14. These workers are striking against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP.) Working conditions, compensation structure, and threats to their jobs (including the surprising role Artificial Intelligence plays in stealing work away from real people) is what Union members want AMPTP to address.
Some notable musicians are sympathetic with these workers. Snoop Dog has been vocal with support for the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike, offering advice and seeking counsel for ways to track streaming counts fairly. Snoop and Dr. Dre postponed the 30th anniversary event celebrating the release of “The Chronic” as a show of support for the strike. Snoop points out that old-school album sales charts were an obvious indicator of monetary expectations, but the lack of transparency for writers and actors (and musicians) in current streaming organizations is perplexing (although Snoop’s actual language here for his brethren and sisters was much more passionate and certainly much saltier). Podcasts that striking union members happen to produce and host are in a gray area at this time, with certain hosts postponing episodes and some continuing, but ready to alter plans after clarification or new guidance from their guilds. The main detail to heed: do not promote struck work. Past projects and general conversation are fair game. Here’s hoping those podcasters can spend some time discussing how the AMPTP plans to use Artificial Intelligence to wring out unpaid work from actors, writers, and musicians. Very sci-fi spooky. Worthy of concern.None of the striking unions nor their allies are asking fans and consumers to boycott movies or other shows from AMPTP. Respect for actual workers is what must be insisted upon.
Shame on AMPTP (Netflix, NBC Universal, Paramount/CBS, Disney, etc.). Working union members need a fair wage and respect—keep in mind that very few of these WGA/SAG-AFTRA union members are shining Hollywood stars.