Hollywood Strikes & Summer of Strikes Reporting Fund

(Courtesy: The Writers Guld)

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Payday needs your donations to help to cover the over 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members, who are now striking alongside 11,000 Writers Guild members for the first time in 60 years. Increasingly, it appears that 340,000 Teamsters at UPS will join them on strike on August 1st.

This summer, we will likely see 500,000 workers strike at once. As our work covering the strike wave has shown, the more coverage that strikes get, the more likely workers feel emboldened and confident that they, too, can strike.

(Check out Payday Report’s 71-minute interview with “I Am a Virgo” Director Boots Riley on how Payday Report’s Strike Tracker has helped to inspire strike coverage. Boots even used it to help organize a wildcat grocery workers’ strike).

It’s crucial that Payday Report cover this incredible strike wave this summer.

Donate to help to pay for the costs of covering this historic strike. We need your help to pay for salaries, gas, hotels, and food on the road to cover this strike wave.

Our work as the first outlet to systematically track the strike wave during the pandemic has been widely recognized everywhere, from the front page of the Washington Post to NPR’s “All Things Considered” to filmmaker Boots Riley. 

We are at a historic moment in this country and need your help to tell this story.

On July 13th, over 160,000 SAG-AFTRA members went on strike, joining the 11,000 Writers Guild members already on strike. The strike marks the first time the two unions have been on strike together in Hollywood in over 60 years.

The high-profile Hollywood strikes come during a historic “Summer of Strikes” across the US as 340,000 Teamsters at UPS and 150,000 UAW members at the “Big Three” prepare for large-scale strikes later in the summer. The strike could likely workers to strike in a summer that has already seen a vast number of strikes. 

SAG-AFTRA and the studio association AMPTP are very apart on critical issues, particularly on the studio’s refusal to regulate the usage of artificial intelligence

With over 11,000 Writers Guild members out on strike, the studios had hoped to pressure SAG-AFTRA into accepting a contract that cut undercut striking writers.

Many SAG-AFTRA members were incensed by comments made by studios executive to Deadline in which they described their strategy to isolate the Writers Guild from SAG-AFTRA while refusing to negotiate with the Writers Guild. 

“The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline. 

However, SAG-AFTRA members and Writers Guild members have worked hard to make bonds of solidarity between the two groups. Writers Guild strike captains have even been training SAG-AFTRA strike captains. 

By striking together, SAG-AFTRA has made it more possible that the Writers Guild is likely to get a union contract. The studios have yet to negotiate with the Writers Guild since they first went out in May. 

Many union members hope the Writers’ Guild and SAG-AFTRA can strike together to shut down production across Hollywood. Writers’ Guild strike captains have been actively training SAG-AFTRA strike captains for any potential strike. 

Unions across Hollywood have pledged to support SAG-AFTRA and the Writers Guild if they remain on strike. Hollywood unions hope to use their strikes’ momentum to cover other strikes.

A new coalition called The Union Solidarity Coalition (TUSC) was launched by various Hollywood workers and stars, including Ben Stiller, Boots Riley. Lula Wang, Jay Roach, Daniel Kwan, and Natasha Lyonne.

TUSC hopes to inspire workers not just in Hollywood to take action but around the country. The group launched its effort during the “Summer of Strikes,” with major strikes looming of over 340,000 Teamsters at UPS and 150,000 UAW Members employed by the “Big Three” automakers as well as elsewhere. Strikes elsewhere, in particular, a series of roving hotel workers strike throughout Southern California, including near Disneyland, have helped Hollywood workers to think about how they can expand their solidarity to help other unions.

“Watching people honor our picket lines touched and inspired us, and presented us with a model for unity in action,” said the TUSC in a statement. “Though the [Writers’ Guild] strike is the catalyst for creating TUSC, we feel this is just the beginning of a larger, urgent movement of solidarity between all of the industry unions, and also our coworkers who aren’t part of a union. We want to think big about how we can support each other in the face of a national labor crisis.”

We need your help to track the “Summer of Strikes” that is brewing across the country. Donate to help us cover this strike wave. 

Help us once again to make a significant impact in the media and cover the “Summer of Strikes.”

Donate to Help Payday Cover the Summer Strike Wave. Please, sign up as one of our 748 recurring donors today.

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]