What You Can Do to Help the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes

The ongoing WGA strike—in its third month of motion as of writing—and final week’s announcement that SAG-AFTRA, the wide-ranging actors union, could be joining it on strike, have created a labor reckoning in Hollywood not seen for over half a century. However that unprecedented second has made for an equally unprecedented second of confusion for individuals who operate in and around leisure media.

As SAG-AFTRA’s strike formally started this previous Friday, July 14, many questions remained about how members and non-members might help the motion with out going in opposition to the desires of the union. However social media spent the weekend rife with confusion and misinformation, as individuals sought layers upon layers of clarification about how the strike impacted everybody from journalists working inside the leisure media panorama, to unbiased content material creators and influencers, all the best way right down to members of the general public who’re merely simply followers of the content material being made by putting employees—previous, current, and future. Discussions about reviewing or reacting to new and upcoming movie and TV tasks, to issues as simple as cosplay or simply speaking about media in any respect on-line, as being equal to crossing a picket line got here up for debate. So what can and might’t be carried out throughout both SAG-AFTRA or the WGA’s strike? Right here’s a quick primer.

What’s the Distinction Between Crossing a Picket Line and Scabbing?

Though the latter—the act of strikebreaking, colloquially and derogatorily generally known as “scabbing”—requires the previous, not everybody compelled to cross a picket line is breaking a strike. In reality, many individuals within the leisure trade, from administrators to producers to legions of help and technical employees who’re unaffiliated with the putting unions, should cross picket traces with a purpose to maintain doing their very own jobs. They, in contrast to WGA and SAG affiliated employees, will not be on strike, however nonetheless must work at studios which might be being picketed, even when they themselves personally help the strike motion.

Being a “scab” particularly normally means you might be both a member of a putting union who continues to work anyway, otherwise you’re a non-union member who’s employed by one of many picketed corporations to do work that may substitute a putting employee. Being a scab is shitty conduct! Don’t do it! Not simply because individuals will suppose you’re shitty—rightfully so, since you are doing a shitty factor—however should you ever needed to affix one of many putting unions in some unspecified time in the future in your profession (and should you’re doing paid work in these industries that may necessitate scabbing within the first place, there’s a extremely good probability you’d wish to be), strikebreaking is the quickest means to make sure you’ll be barred from in search of membership with an affected union.

However the dialog round scabbing and crossing pickets has grow to be extra complicated within the mixed WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, particularly because the leisure trade has seen the moral murkiness of entry journalism, influencers, and the rise of corporate fandom, a blurring of traces that has helped energy the studios these employees are putting in opposition to to even larger heights—heights they’ve used to stress their staff to work within the untenable conditions which have result in these strike actions within the first place. So proper now, what can journalists, influencers, and followers truly do?

Photograph: Mario Tama (Getty Pictures)

What Can Journalists Do Throughout the Strikes?

For journalists, that is easy: their jobs. Whereas some stage of relationship with the affected studios within the SAG and WGA strikes is seen as a needed facet of that job in a company media setting—entry to pre-release evaluate screeners or screenings, relationships with public relations groups for remark requests or interview entry with expertise and executives, and so forth—journalists are not a part of the studio equipment. They’re not employed by them, they aren’t paid by them, their function is definitely to not act as an extension of their advertising and marketing plans.

Journalists are critics and reporters: they evaluate and look at the work made by these studios independently of them, they report the information and inform their audiences. Are there individuals on the market who ethically complicate these relationships for their very own acquire? Completely. Is that an excuse to name each journalist a shill, or within the case of a labor motion like the present strikes, a scab? No. Don’t do it, it’s dumb, and undermines solidarity between employees who come from industries which have a long history of unionized labor, particularly on this present second the place studios would undoubtedly like to enact extra affect and management over each work forces.

In reality, you may know that a number of media unions, particularly for digital newsrooms, are literally already affiliated with the WGA specifically. GMG Union for instance, the union representing the G/O media community of internet sites Gizmodo is a part of—in addition to the Onion Inc Union, a separate union representing the workers at that website—is unionized with the Writer’s Guild of America, East, as are unions affiliated with media corporations comparable to Vox, Hearst, and extra. The rationale they’ve not been on strike for the reason that WGA strike started on Could 2 this 12 months is that it’s not their contracts which might be being negotiated—it’s particularly the contract between the WGA and the Alliance of Movement Image and Tv Producers, or AMPTP, that’s affected. Within the case of the SAG-AFTRA strike, this additionally applies, together with broadcast journalists (i.e., reporters and anchors who seem on tv) who’re members of the union. Their contracts are separate from the TV and Theatrical contract being negotiated with the AMPTP, to allow them to proceed to work.

That doesn’t cease them from displaying solidarity with both strike although, both as non-public people or as journalists seeking to highlight the unions’ struggles to their audiences. Affected actors or screenwriters can’t speak to you to advertise struck work as that may go in opposition to their union’s strike agreements. However they will, and may very well be keen to, focus on the affect of the strike with you in an interview.

What Can Influencers Do Throughout the Strikes?

Influencers—individuals who leverage an viewers via social media and different channels to barter and execute model offers and different advertising and marketing plans—truly do have separate guidelines to observe throughout the ongoing strikes, particularly if these influencers are already members of SAG-AFTRA or the WGA. SAG has already launched pointers for influencer members, as defined on its site and who’ve already signed particular agreements and waivers for influencer work with the union—about what varieties of labor they will nonetheless carry out whereas the union is on strike. This contains already contractually obligated work, even when that work is with a struck firm.

What influencers who’ve signed agreements and waivers with SAG-AFTRA can’t do largely aligns with different members of the union: they will’t pursue new offers with struck corporations, they usually can not carry out promotional work for these corporations at events like premieres or San Diego Comic-Con, they usually can’t focus on content material from struck corporations on social media, whether or not it’s paid or unpaid. This additionally applies to unbiased influencers who intend on in search of membership with SAG sooner or later: “Any non-member in search of future membership in SAG-AFTRA who performs lined work or providers for a struck firm throughout the strike is not going to be admitted into membership in SAG-AFTRA,” SAG-AFTRA’s site states.

Image for article titled What Can Fans Actually Do to Support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes?

Picture: Warner Bros.

What Can Followers Do Throughout the Strikes?

We reside in an age of fandom—from individuals who simply love Marvel films to followers who’ve made unbiased careers out of podcasting or content material creation, fansites, and fanfic, there are individuals everywhere in the world who now out of the blue discover the sequence they love or the films they’re wanting ahead to impacted by these strikes. Even should you’ve made a profession out it, you’re not obligated to observe any of the particularly talked about above pointers until you plan to finally be part of one of many impacted unions.

Discuss that new episode of Secret Invasion, do a podcast about Ahsoka, cosplay at SDCC (of your individual private volition—should you’ve made a profession out of being a cosplay influencer that has labored with studios or different corporations earlier than, it’s seemingly higher to not pursue that promotional work throughout the strike, whether or not you’re unionized or not, for the explanations laid out above), no matter you need. Or don’t should you really feel uncomfortable about it—the purpose is you aren’t obligated to observe strike pointers. Neither the WGA nor SAG-AFTRA have referred to as for shopper boycotts of media from the struck corporations, which suggests…

Can I Nonetheless Watch New Motion pictures or Present TV Exhibits?

Sure, you’ll be able to go do your Barbenheimer double feature or binge your means via The Witcher season 3. Like I mentioned above, neither the WGA nor SAG-AFTRA have presently referred to as for a shopper boycott of fabric from the AMPTP. In reality, members of each unions have explicitly famous that that is presently unlikely to occur, and particular person individuals shouldn’t contemplate doing boycotts as a means of solidarity anyway—dips in viewers response and engagement may very well be seen as leverage by the studios to make use of in opposition to the unions, whereas demand for the fruits of their labor can present help.

However What If I Wish to Be part of SAG or the WGA Some Day?

You possibly can nonetheless do all of the above as a shopper—Barbenheimer away. The one factor that issues should you’re pursuing a profession within the fields lined by SAG-AFTRA and the WGA is that you simply don’t carry out work for any of the struck corporations in any capability, or promote that work in paid and unpaid capacities within the case of influencers. Doing so will see you blacklisted from becoming a member of sooner or later.

Image for article titled What Can Fans Actually Do to Support the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes?

Photograph: Michael Loccisano (Getty Pictures)

What Can I Do to Assist Throughout the Strikes?

Each the WGA and SAG-AFTRA have requested audiences who wish to assist to take action each digitally and bodily. Individuals interested by becoming a member of a neighborhood picket line or in donating meals and water to strike members can examine each the WGA and SAG-AFTRA picket schedules for native occasion timings, and work with strike captains on website to see how they will finest lend help in individual.

Past that, you’ll be able to donate to fundraisers just like the Entertainment Community Fund for each WGA and SAG-AFTRA, and both unions have publicly accessible social media toolkits full of graphics, pattern posts, and hashtags to construct help round throughout websites like Twitter, Fb, TikTok, and Instagram—or share messages from every union’s personal social platforms together with your audiences. For unbiased content material creators, influencers, and members of the media, the Freelance Solidarity Project affords some pointers and calls to motion, together with a statement to attach to media created throughout the strikes to indicate help and acknowledge the shared labor struggles on this nigh-on unprecedented second in Hollywood.


Need extra io9 information? Try when to anticipate the newest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and every part you must find out about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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