How To Support SAG-AFTRA/WGA Strike As A Content Creator
What is the entertainment industry strike?
65,000+ actors represented by the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) went on strike Friday, July 14, 2023 after negotiations between the union and motion picture studios were unsuccessful.
SAG-AFTRA members joined 11,000+ TV and script writers represented by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) who have been on strike since May 2, 2023.
It is the first time since 1960 that two major Hollywood unions have been on strike at the same time.
Fun fact, Ronald Reagan was the SAG-AFTRA president at the time, well before his presidency in the United States.
How does the strike impact content creators?
Non-union content creators should definitely be following the latest developments in the entertainment industry strike, as what is currently being negotiated impacts creators on all levels.
On a content consumer level, production will be halted during the strike on a number of streaming and live series programs, putting new seasons behind schedule for streaimng, live, and other forms of entertainment media.
On a content creation level, previously contracted positions that fall under the scope of work that a union member might perform could be offered to non-union creators during the strike period.
Content creators should be aware of the producers and streaming companies that are being highlighted in the strike, and what is considered crossing the picket line.
These are the companies that are currently involved in the SAG strike:
- NBC Universal
Actionable ways to show support for the strike
- Follow the social media accounts of SAG-AFTRA and WGA
- Share strike graphics on your social media
- Sign letters of support with both SAG-AFTRA and WGA
- Donate to official fundraising efforts
- Don’t cross the picket line with your creative work while the strike is ongoing
- Donate to independent efforts to bring food and drinks to those actively picketing
- Purchase merch and wear it loud and proud
What is considered "crossing the picket line"?
What are the SGA-AFTRA strike rules?
SAG members are prohibited from doing on-camera work, such as:
Piloting on-camera aircraft
Performance capture or motion capture work
SAG members are also prohibited from doing off camera work, such as:
ADR/looping (that’s when a film’s original audio is re-recorded in a studio)
TV trailers, promos, theatrical trailers
Narration, including audio descriptive services (although the union notes there are some exceptions to this, if the work is covered by a different collective bargaining agreement)
Stunt coordinating and related services
PLEASE STAY AWARE OF WORK SCOPE IF YOU ARE A NON-UNION CREATOR
What are WGA Strike Rules?
Writers cannot perform the following work during the strike:
- Performance of writing services for or delivery of literary material to struck company; and
- negotiations and discussions regarding present or future writing projects.
There are also certain notice requirements, including:
- notice to the companies to return writer-owned “spec” literary material; and
- notice to your agent or other representative to discontinue conducting negotiations on your behalf.
There are Rules related to picket lines and other strike support activity, including:
- honoring all Guild picket lines;
- performing assigned strike support duties; and
- informing the Guild of strikebreaking activity.
Finally, please note these features of the Rules:
- Covered work
The Rules prohibit the performance of writing services for a struck company in connection with audiovisual or audio works intended for initial exhibition in any market covered by the MBA, including feature motion pictures, television, and new media, as well as the option or sale of literary material for that purpose.
The Rules apply to all animated series covered by a WGA contract. Writers who wish to perform writing services in connection with fully animated theatrical features and television programs are advised to consult with WGA staff to determine whether such writing is prohibited before performing, or contracting to perform, any writing services. Members should assume that projects combining live action and animation are covered by the Strike Rules.
- Fiction Podcasts
The Rules apply to fiction podcasts covered by a WGA contract. Writers who wish to perform writing services for fiction podcasts are advised to consult with WGA staff to determine whether such writing is prohibited before performing or contracting to perform, any writing services.
What happens if a content creator crosses the picket line?
Sign Letter of Support for SAG-AFTRA
“Performers in the film, streaming, and television industries have never faced a greater threat to their professions. Over the past decade, while giant media companies report record profits, protections and compensation for talent have greatly diminished. AI technology now poses an additional peril, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers thinks they have the upper hand.
Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of performers aren’t getting rich through huge paydays, and their ability to have a sustainable career is in serious danger.
That’s why we need your help.
Whether you’re a member, fan, social advocate, local business owner, an organization, an elected official, or just someone who believes in fairness, we need your support.”
Sign Letter of Support for WGA
“Writers are facing the most comprehensive assault on compensation and working conditions that they have seen in a generation. The studios have taken advantage of the transition to streaming to underpay entertainment industry workers, including writers in every area of work. Like too many working people across our economy, as corporate profits grow, writers are just not keeping up.
Stand with the 11,500 WGA members who write and produce the TV and films that entertain the world!“
Donate to Support SAG-AFTRA/WGA Strike
Donate Groceries to Writers On Strike
“To support feature film and television writers in our community as they stand for fair pay and protections in the workplace, recognizing that this action may result in financial hardship for writers and their families, Humanitas is distributing grocery store gift cards to current WGA writers in need.”
Groceries For Writers:
How to donate food and water to picket lines
SAG-AFTRA is on strike and will be officially picketing tomorrow. This means that the needs for food and hydration are more critical than ever. Donate to @chessmorse's pizza fund,@dsa_losangeles' snacklist, or our hydration fund. DM us to donate and/or sign up to bring water!— Pre-WGA Strike Support (@PreWGAStrike) July 14, 2023
Dave Crosman is teaming up with Kate and Jo’s Coffee Co. to deliver coffee to folks on the frontlines.
Alexandra Sternberg, a support staffer and writer, is raising $1500 to provide a soft serve ice cream truck to Universal picketers as the weather heats up.
Hi Lovely Writers and Allies! I have been picketing mostly at Universal and I'm working with an amazing food truck (hint: soft serve ice cream!!) to come in the next couple weeks when it starts to get really hot. But I need to raise the funds! Venmo below! (1/4) pic.twitter.com/FkE68aPvTs— Alix Sternberg (@thetvchick) May 11, 2023