Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/TNS
Mario Tama/Getty Images North America/TNS
Mario Tama

Writer’s Strike: “More money to the people, and less money to the top.”

Writer Relief Funds
To help support these unions and more, you can visit the following to donate to Entertainment Funds:
To help support these unions and more, you can visit the following to donate to Entertainment Funds:

For WGA:




May 2nd, 2023, writers of the Writers Guild of America (WGA, a labor union), representing upwards of 11,000 screenwriters, went on strike, protesting unfair working conditions and poor wages.


Unions are organizations that are formed by workers. People who work in unions not only receive a better salary (according to, union employees gain a 26.2 percent increase in salary compared to non-union workers), they also gain better benefits such as healthcare, pensions, etc.

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There are already many unions, and each one represents a different industry, and within that, a different job in said industry. Some unions relevant to the WGA’s strike are: IATSE (production technicians), along with SAG-AFTRA (The Actor’s Union, who recently joined the cause), and VFX-IATSE (Video effects workers. They are a new union, and were influenced to form after the WGA spoke up.)


The strike affects productions all over the country, mainly affecting places such as New York City, Los Angeles and Atlanta: Major film hubs.


To be on strike means to halt working as a group, and the reasons for doing so may vary. Usually strikes last until the group’s list of criteria has been met, such as better working conditions or wages.


Drew Barrymore (American actress and film producer, who started as a child actor in the 80’s), hosts a show called, “The Drew Barrymore Show.” Her show employed WGA writers back in September of 2020.


Barrymore recently announced she would resume production of her show without writers. This received enormous amounts of backlash from writers and their supporters (who formed picket lines outside where she would be filming), to which she replied with a statement and an apology video, saying she would pause the production of her show. She later took down the video on her Instagram account.


The amount of backlash Barrymore received influenced others to halt their filming process, such as Bill Maher’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.”


The backlash was the result of her “crossing a picket line.” This phrase can be used in both metaphorical and literal sense, and means to cross a barrier.


A “scab” is a term used to refer to people who cross picket lines. Drew Barrymore was accused of being a scab once she announced her show’s production would resume. Anyone else who decides to resume their show during the times of the strike, if they are indeed with the Union, are scabbing.


What exactly are the WGA’s terms? According to, the WGA “…demands increased minimum compensation in all areas of media, increased residuals, appropriate TV series-writing compensation from pre- to postproduction, increased contributions to pension and health plans, the strengthening of professional standards and the overall protection for writers, and more.”


Kathleen Topham, Video Operator, who worked on the shows “Dumb Money,” and “The Blacklist,” sums up WGA’s main goals best: “More money to the people, and less money to the top.”


This strike isn’t just affecting writers of the Guild. Benji Lanpher, a Director of Photography, who worked on shows such as: “Tiger King,” and “The Island,” was talking with a bartender, who also worked in the industry as an Assistant Director, about those affected by the strike.


“He reminded me how this strike is effecting everyone in LA. He’s an AD, but bartending… the Propstores, restaurants, nightlife, costume designers… it’s affecting everyone.”


To all wanting to support the cause, you don’t have to be a writer, part of a union, or even part of the film industry to support the WGA’s strike.


A very poplar solution that seems to be circulating is: Boycott studios.


Ahmed Lugo, a Sound Mixer who works on reality shows, documentaries, etc., suggests, “One thing that’s going around, that should show us support, is cancel Netflix. Netflix is one of the studios that profits from writers and are not paying decent wages… Any streaming service that you can deal without, cut ‘em [sic]… troll their (Studio Executives) Instagram accounts…”


Topham seconds this method of support, saying, “The studios claim the streaming market is “unpredictable”, and so by cancelling a subscription, we are proving them right. Studios are losing millions by the day, they have a choice right now to do the right thing.”


Lanpher says, “Boycotting studios in the past has worked before and they are most definitely feeling this blow and they are listening. The variable in this is AI and if they are going to use it or negotiate with their workers.


“Will a boycott be effective this time? I guess we will see, it’s all new territory.”


Mr. Aaronson, Media Studies teacher at Coral Springs High, recommends a different approach. “I think the first way you do that (support writers) is you support the whole idea of workers getting together in any job, in order to demand better pay… I think it’s unrealistic to tell people: ‘well, just stop watching media,’ they’re not going to do it. No one ever did. And we’re not going to.”


Aaronson also says it might be time to spend less time consuming media and, “…check out a book from the local library, go outside, play basketball a little more, invest a little more in your life…”


The future of filmmaking is unknown. Will AI take over? Will executives plan to replace their workers with AI, or will they stay loyal to their employees? Past strikes have been successful, and hopes are this one will be as well.


Editor’s Note: After 148 days of striking, the writers and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers have come to a tentative agreement. This would signal the end of the 2023 Writer’s Strike.

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