In a remarkable show of solidarity, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has thrown its unwavering support behind the Writers Guild of America (WGA) as their strike against Hollywood studios rages on. The board, comprised of dedicated representatives including Lindsey Horvath and Kathryn Barger, expressed unequivocal solidarity with the WGA and deemed their negotiation positions both reasonable and essential.
At the heart of this conflict lies a fundamental truth: the power of storytelling in shaping our culture and identity. Supervisor Lindsey Horvath passionately articulated the significance of the 11,500 writers represented by the WGA, whose tireless efforts allow us to imagine, laugh, empathize, and dream. Today, on the strike’s 35th day, the Board of Supervisors stands firmly beside these talented writers, calling on the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) to return to the negotiating table with a fair and equitable contract.
The strike, precipitated by the evolving landscape of the entertainment industry, specifically the rise of streaming services, has left many writers grappling with inadequate compensation and demanding workloads. The LA County Board of Supervisors, recognizing the profound impact of this changing business model, firmly places the blame on the studios for their shortsightedness. While the studios have reaped staggering profits, accumulating close to $30 billion annually between 2017 and 2021, the writers have suffered the consequences.
The AMPTP, however, has attempted to downplay the union’s demands, claiming that writers have already received substantial increases in streaming residuals under the previous contract. Disagreements have also arisen concerning the union’s call for minimum writer numbers on projects and guarantees of work.
Undeterred by these obstacles, the LA County Board of Supervisors has taken decisive action. All five board members will sign a letter expressing their resolute support for the WGA and urging the AMPTP to return to negotiations in good faith.
Simultaneously, the AMPTP is set to commence contract talks with SAG-AFTRA, the union representing Hollywood actors. SAG-AFTRA recently announced an overwhelming approval of a strike-authorization vote, granting the union the power to call for a strike if necessary. With 97.91% of SAG-AFTRA members in favor of such action, nearly 65,000 individuals stand ready to defend their rights. The AMPTP is keenly aware of the high stakes involved and has released a statement, acknowledging the importance of reaching a new agreement that benefits SAG-AFTRA members and the industry as a whole.
As Hollywood faces this critical juncture, where the fate of writers and the industry hangs in the balance, actors and SAG-AFTRA officials have stood side by side with their writing colleagues on picket lines, demonstrating unwavering support and an unbreakable resolve.
The collective voices of the WGA, SAG-AFTRA, and the LA County Board of Supervisors send a clear message to the industry: fair treatment, respect, and just compensation are non-negotiable. The power of storytelling is too precious to be undermined, and those who breathe life into these narratives deserve to be recognized for their invaluable contributions.