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Media strikes: Writers and actors fight for improved contracts

Jolie Wyatt

The writers’ strike began in May 2, after negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and major studios reached a deadlock on payment for their writers. In response, writers walked away from their jobs, demanding higher pay. 

148 days after writers left their professions, an agreement was reached, which allowed writers to come back on Sep. 27, signaling the end of the writer’s strike. However, the actor strike is still an ongoing issue.

The writers’ strike

There is an agreement that wants meaningful gains to protect writers in every membership sector. It demands higher royalties, mandatory staffing of TV writing rooms, and safeguards to their jobs from using artificial intelligence (AI).

By now, four major late-night shows have been back since Oct. 2, 2023. Shows such as “Late Night With Seth Meyers,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”

“The weekly minimum for a staff writer on a television series in the 2019-2020 season was $4,546, according to industry trade outlet Variety,” according to Fortune, “They work an average of 29 weeks on a network show for $131,834 annually or an average of 20 weeks on a streaming show for $90,920.” 

The actors’ strike

Actors (SAG-AFTRA) have been on strike since July 14, 2023, and the company executives asked them to return to their table, according to SAG-AFTRA. Official negotiations have resumed since Oct. 24. 

“Our goal in this negotiation is to ensure our members working in film, television, and streaming/new media can continue to earn a professional living with a contract that honors our contributions. We need a contract that will increase contributions to our benefit plans and protect members from erosion of income due to inflation and reduced residuals, unregulated use of generative AI, and demanding self-taped auditions,” stated Dan Drescher, President of the Theatrical Contract Negotiating Committee, in a member message published by SAG-AFTRA.

This is a developing story; negotiations are still ongoing.

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Jolie Wyatt
Jolie Wyatt, Editor-in-Chief
Jolie Wyatt is the current Editor-in-Chief of “The Blue and White” at Bakersfield High School. When Wyatt isn’t writing or editing stories, she can be seen cheering at sporting events and rallies. Wyatt can also be found in the theater with Driller Drama.

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