The Big Picture
- The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have resulted in the loss of 45,000 jobs in the entertainment industry, with 7,000 jobs being cut in September alone.
- The strikes have had a significant impact on the economy, with the California economy losing $3 billion and studios reducing or delaying spending by $5 billion.
- SAG-AFTRA is still fighting for a fair deal and is hopeful that the terms secured by the WGA can serve as a guideline for their own negotiations, addressing issues such as pay, residuals, AI protections, and better working conditions. Talks are set to resume on Monday.
Everyone knew that pain would be inevitable as the WGA and SAG-AFTRA went on strike to fight for a better deal from the AMPTP. Thanks to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we now know how extensive the impact on labor has been across the entertainment industry. Since the beginning of the writers strike back in May, 45,000 jobs have been lost in the motion picture and sound recording industries which is attributed to the prolonged work stoppage.
The bloodshed hasn’t slowed since this all began either. In September alone, 7,000 jobs were cut across both television and film. It’s one of the first wider pictures we’ve seen of how the strike has impacted the economy, and the results aren’t all that surprising. As the strikes began, it was clear that other workers within Hollywood, from casting directors to sound engineers, makeup artists, and camera operators, would feel the sting of this labor battle. Both unions have done what they can to aid their fellow workers with special sales and auctions of one-of-a-kind experiences and memorabilia for the Entertainment Community Fund and The Union Solidarity Coalition, but that doesn’t completely take away the pain of losing a job altogether.
Workers in the industry aren’t the only ones feeling the damage, though. The California economy has taken a major hit, losing $3 billion over the first 100 days of the strikes. Spending has been reduced or delayed by studios to the tune of $5 billion as they look to cut back while the strikes are ongoing. Instead of choosing the easy way out by simply paying writers and actors their fair share to begin with, studios have opted to make this excruciating not just for workers, but for themselves. Back in September, it was reported Warner Bros. Discovery bled $300 to $500 million in this fight, which is likely part of the reason David Zaslav and other executives were so eager to return to the negotiating table.
SAG-AFTRA Is Still Fighting for a Fair Deal
Unfortunately, there will still be more sacrifices as SAG-AFTRA has yet to come to terms with the AMPTP. The WGA already scored a major win with their historic deal which secured a better future for all writers entering the industry and there’s hope their terms can serve as guidelines for an inevitable deal for the actors. The two unions marched together for largely the same reasons – both wanted pay to keep up with inflation and residuals to become a reliable source of income again after streaming largely erased any and all performance-based incentives.
Also at the forefront is AI which writers were able to secure sweeping protections against. For actors, there are mounting fears that their likenesses could be used to one day replace their physical presence in productions especially since there are no real protections against studios abusing AI replicas to avoid proper compensation. Both Tom Hanks and Zelda Williams made clear the dangers of AI as the likenesses and voices of Hanks and the late Robin Williams have been used to exploit people and capitalize on the actors’ legacy. Among other things, actors are also fighting for the end of self-taped auditions and the implementation of better working conditions overall.
Talks between SAG-AFTRA and studios are set to resume on Monday. Read our write-up on the ongoing actors strike for a full overview of everything you need to know.