Writers Guild & Hollywood Studios in Secret Talks – NYC Doctors to Strike for 1st Time since 1990 – Trudeau MIA as Federal Workers Strike Enters 2nd Week

Writers Guild members prepare strike signs for a strike that could begin on Monday (WGAE)

Greetings from the Burgh, where we mourn the passing of Pittsburgh baseball legend Dick Groat at age 92.

Swissvale Native Dick Groat Dies at 92

A native of the Swissvale neighborhood of Pittsburgh, around where I grew up, Groat was an 8-time All-Star, 1960 batting champion, and the 1960 MVP, leading the Pirates to a World Series that year. 

For years, he was a fixture in the bars and restaurants around where I grew up, and my parents still live. He was known as a friendly, down-to-earth yinzer, and many in the Pittsburgh community mourn his passing. May his memory always be a blessing for yinzers everywhere

The New York Times has a moving obituary of Groat. 

Writers Guild Prepare Picket Sign as Talks Drag On

As Payday goes to press, the Writers Guild and the big Hollywood studios, represented by AMPTP, are still at the bargaining table. The main issues stem from the transition to streaming services. If an agreement is not reached, TV writers will go on strike this Monday evening at midnight. 

Due to long periods of unemployment, many TV writers often survive off residuals or royalties from when their series run on TV or are streamed. However, online streaming services pay dramatically fewer residuals for their screenwriting productions than broadcast TV did. 

In addition, TV series, on average, had 22 episodes per season. While streaming TV series have, on average, only eight episodes, meaning that there is dramatically less work for writers in Hollywood. As the Writers Guild pushes for more money for writers, studios are beginning to be squeezed as funding for major productions shows signs of drying up. 

Increasingly, a strike in Hollywood beginning next week is likely. With 97.5% of writers voting in favor of a strike, writers in union halls across Hollywood are preparing picket signs for a strike starting on Monday at midnight. 

Currently, neither the Writers Guild nor AMPTP is commenting on what is being discussed at the bargaining table. Payday will update as we learn more. 

For the most updated information, check out the Writers Guild Perspectives Twitter account, which offers negotiation perspectives from rank-and-file members. 

(Be sure also to check out this Vox article on how AI could hurt writers)

Help Pay the Rent for May & Extend My Lease Another Year

Good news, after struggling to pay my rent earlier this year, my landlords have offered to extend my lease on my apartment if I pay my rent on Time. I’ve lived in this apartment for five years and would love to stay, but I am nervous about raising the money.

Donate to help me cover my $1,070 rent. Please, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

2,500 Oakland Teachers Strike 

Two thousand five hundred teachers and school support staff in Oakland may go on strike next week. Union members are upset about the school district’s proposal for a 3.5% wage increase, which wouldn’t keep up with inflation. Union members are instead demanding a 10% wage increase. 

So far, union leaders say that little progress has been made at the bargaining table, and 88% of union members have voted to authorize a strike. 

“We’re not making progress at this point right now. This is why we’re at this point. But, we are still continuing to bargain, and we are still hoping to settle at the table,” Oakland Education Association Bargaining Chief Vilma Serrano told KTVU. 

For more, check out KTVU

NYC Doctors to Strike for 1st Time Since 1990 

In New York City, resident physicians have threatened to go on strike for the 1st Time in NYC since 1990 at two Queens hospitals operated by the MediSys Health Network. Resident physicians make a salary of only $ 67,000 a year while often being forced to work 80 hours; many residents barely make $ 15 an hour. 

“We know how many physicians are leaving the workforce right now because of what has been going on. And so supporting physicians in this Time is extremely important,” Dr. Neha Ravi, a first-year family medicine resident at Jamaica Hospital, told the New York Daily News. 

For more, check out the New York Daily News. 

(Be sure to check out this long look from the Guardian about resident physicians unionizing across the US)

Canadian Unions Want Trudeau Involved in Strike Talks 

In Canada, over 155,000 federal workers, members of the PSAC, are still on strike with no end in sight. 

Canadian workers initially demanded a 13.5% wage increase but have now moved down to a 9% wage increase. Still, the Canadian government says it’s too much. 

With the strike now its 9th day, the PSAC is calling on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to get directly involved in contract talks. 

“We’ve moved our wage demand, but yet the employer hasn’t moved on their wage demand,” PSAC National President Chris Aylward said at a press conference on Thursday.” They’re telling us we’re the ones we have to move. That’s not how bargaining works.”

For more, check out the CBC. 

A Strike of Immigrant Workers Enters Its Third Year

Finally, Amir Khafagy of DocumentedNY has a long look at the strike of largely immigrant oil workers employed by United Metro that is now entering its second year: 

As the walkout dragged on, the strike funds that were sustaining the picket line dried up. Workers could no longer afford to stand on the picket. With no income, they were forced to find other jobs. 

“After all this time I can’t expect the men to stand out there after two years,” said Demopoulos. “So for now I got them working at other places so they can earn some income for their families but they have suffered, suffered greatly. It was over a year they were not working.”

As one of the leaders of the strike, Soleyn was the first of eight workers illegally fired in retaliation. With three daughters, two in college to support, Soleyn was forced to take a part-time job at another oil terminal. As a result, his wife became the family’s primary breadwinner, and to make ends meet, they had to rely on food pantries. 

“In my situation, I had to depend totally on my wife,” he said. “Thankfully, she has a job but it was so tough because we had to budget down to the penny on just about everything.”

For more, check out DocumentedNY.

Strikes & News Happening Elsewhere: 

Alright, yinz, I’m gonna crash out and get some sleep. 

Donate to help me pay my rent & get my lease extended. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors. 

Keep sending party invites, recipes, story complaints, and links (lots of links) to [email protected] 

See yinz, 

Melk 

About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter who covered everything from Lula & the Brazilian labor movement to major league baseball. He spent years covering union organizing in the South for The Guardian and was labeled by the New York Times as an "abrasive gadfly" for exposing within the labor movement. Raised in a UE union family in Pittsburgh, Elk was illegally for union organizing at Politico in 2015 and used his NLRB settlement to start the crowd-funded Payday Report. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and is fluent in both Pittsburghese and Portuguese, which he learned when attending journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janerio. Email: [email protected]

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