Early yesterday morning WGA (Writers Guild of America) and AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers) worked through their differences reaching an agreement that prevented an imminent strike. In no uncertain terms, this is fantastic news.
There were several issues on the table, but primarily it was concerning residual pay, which is widely paid from rerunning an episode or ticket sales at box offices, and increased health care benefits. While these are legitimate claims and can be debated, either way, a strike would have been catastrophic.
Impacts of a Writers Strike
What many don’t consider about a writer’s strike is that it would not just be writers who are all of a sudden out of work. Scores of employees who are not writers, and will not benefit at all from whatever deal the WGA ends up making would be out of work.
When speaking to a close friend with ten years of TV casting experience, I was reminded of all the other people who all of a sudden would be unable to do their jobs, should a strike occur. Yes, casting is on the list of the would be out of work but so are the chefs in craft services who cater the sets, electricians who work on set, audio and visual technicians, the list continues. The last time the writers went on strike in 2008 the LA economy lost an estimated 2.5 billion dollars.
What is almost comical about this is that the writers are still able to work while a strike is going on. Though this frowned upon, a writer has the unique luxury of being able to write scripts at home while a strike is in progress and then simply selling the script after the strike is over. Not another single member of the industry has that ability (actors can’t do scenes in their living rooms and then use that later for obvious reasons).
This makes a writers’ strike a lot more scary for those who are not writers than for the people actually striking, and that is why it is a such a good thing a compromise was able to be reached. Not for the writers themselves, though again they did have some understandable grievances, but for the little guy who works paycheck to paycheck helping out on set.