Hollywood Writers Strike to Save the Entertainment Industry from Further Corporate Destruction (w/ Sasha Stewart)

0:00 / 39:46
May 7, 2023

Hollywood writers represented by the Writers Guild of America, East, and the Writers Guild of America, West, are on strike for the first time since 2007-08. As Alex Press writes in Jacobin, "The WGA (West and East) called the strike just before midnight on May 1, with its leadership unanimously voting for a work stoppage after six weeks of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over a new three-year contract that covers some 11,500 film and television writers. Announcing its decision, the union said that the bargaining table responses of the AMPTP, which consists of Amazon, Apple, Discovery-Warner, Disney, NBC Universal, Netflix, Paramount, and Sony, had 'been wholly insufficient given the existential crisis writers are facing.'" Even though overall production budgets have risen in the past decade, writer pay has declined, and the rise of streaming services has translated to lower residuals for writers, shorter paid work periods and more precarious employment, etc., with studios even threatening to replace more essential creative labor with AI software.

In this mini-cast, we speak about what led to the writers' strike, and get an update from the picket line, with Sasha Stewart, a WGA-East council member and Writers Guild Award nominated TV writer, producer, and creator. With a background in improv and sketch comedy, Sasha has written for, among other productions, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (Comedy Central) and The Fix with Jimmy Carr (Netflix), and she contributes to McSweeney's and The New Yorker. She was also the Head Writer on the YA political thriller podcast Daughters of DC (iHeartRadio).

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Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive: freemusicarchive.org)

  • Jules Taylor, "Working People Theme Song