In Cannes, Film Financiers Hesitant to Invest During Strike – TV Fall Programming in Crisis – UC to Hire Undocumented Workers

Members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) East picketed outside of the Peacock NewFront on May 2, 2023 in New York City as the WGA strike began. (Getty Images)

Folks, Greetings from the Burgh, where workers at the Carnegie Museums have ratified a first union contract. Andrew Carnegie, who fought unions vigorously, would be rolling over in his grave. 

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19,000 Directors Could Join the Writers’ Guild Strike

As studio bosses gather for Cannes Film Festival this week, many are worried that the strike of 11,000 writers could expand. This week, SAG-AFTRA recommended to its 160,000 TV & film members that they go on strike. Now, 19,000 members of the Director’s Guild are moving to take similar action. 

At the Cannes Film Festival this week, major financiers of movie projects are skittish about financing movie projects that may be delayed because of the Writers’ Guild Strike. The Hollywood Reporter has the story: 

“This is the first time in a market where I’ve been presented with scripts which are not the final script, coming with detailed director and producer notes about future significant changes,” one buyer notes. The hope here being that the striking writer will come back and implement the notes quickly after an agreement is reached between the WGA and AMPTP. The buyers are left with a decision to purchase a project that may or may not be able to lens this year with a script that may or may not be done. 

For more, check out the Hollywood Reporter 

Networks Struggling to Find Fall Programming

With the Writers’ Guild out on strike, many networks are struggling to find programming to fill their fall calendar. Hollywood Reporter has more on the crisis: 

Unless the AMPTP and writers get back to bargaining really soon, a teardown of CBS’ fall schedule is all but inevitable. As of now, the only real concession to the strike is that Survivor and The Amazing Race are expanding to 90 minutes each on Wednesday nights. Every other weeknight and two hours of Sunday primetime are filled with scripted shows that don’t currently have scripts.

There is presumably a plan B at CBS, but the network isn’t sharing anything yet. It has a few other alternative series in reserve, but not enough to cover more than a few hours of primetime. Its repeats also perform better than most (and sometimes outdraw original programming on other networks), but starting a season with a lot of reruns when people expect new episodes is risky.

ABC, meanwhile, is going with a full lineup of competition and game shows, news and sports programming to start the season — save for an hour of Abbott Elementary reruns on Wednesday nights and Wonderful World of Disney movies on Sundays. Several of its game shows employ WGA writers, but sources tell THR that most of the game shows on the network’s fall schedule were taped before May 1. Celebrity Jeopardy! hasn’t taped new episodes, but written material was banked before the strike. (Whether potential contestants who are, say, SAG-AFTRA members would cross a picket line to appear on the show, however, remains to be seen.)

For more, check out Hollywood Reporter

The University of California Moving to Hire Undocumented Students 

In a precedent-setting move, the University of California is now considering hiring undocumented students to work on-campus jobs.  

The move would challenge the limits of federal law and could lead to other states taking similar moves to hire undocumented workers.  

“The federal courts have consistently recognized that states have broad power to determine the appropriate qualifications for state positions, including qualifications related to immigration status,” the co-directors of the UCLA Center for Immigration Law and Policy wrote in a letter explaining their theory in September.

For more, check out POLITICO

The University of Michigan Strike Could Result in Automatic A’s for Strikes

Finally, with many University of Michigan graduate employees still on strike, the University of Michigan is struggling to get grades in for students. Unable to grade all the papers without graduate employees, the University has decided to simply give some students automatic A’s. 

“Any classes that don’t have grades submitted by noon tomorrow (May 16th) will have to have grades inputted by the department,” Gaurav Desai, chair of the English Language and Literature Department at Ann Arbor, wrote in an email Monday. “We do not have any mechanisms for submitting ‘real’ grades. So any students with outstanding grades will receive an ‘A.’”

For more, check out Inside Higher Education 

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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]

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