Writers Guild Launches “Scab Tracker” Strike – LA Film Permits Down 51% – “Hit Squad” Formed to Shut Down More Production

(Courtesy: The Writers Guld)

Greetings from the Burgh, where Im getting ready for Pittonkatonk Music Festival tomorrow at the Vietnam Veterans Pavillion in Schenley Park. It’s a free festival, so swing through and check it out – live music from 1 PM – 11 PM tomorrow. 

Check out the full lineup here.

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Writers Guild Launches “Scab Tracker” Strike 

While most Hollywood and TV productions have shut down production due to the Writers Guild strike, there are still some productions that are attempting to do work in violation of union rules. Now, the Writers’ Guild is calling on union members to report writers who are crossing picket lines on its website. 

“You must inform the Guild of the name of any writer you have reason to believe is engaged in scab writing or other strikebreaking activity,” the guild’s Strike Rule #9 tells members. “To the extent possible, you should be specific about the nature of the violation, including the date and place of the violation, the name of the struck company involved, and the name of the project, if any.”

You can report a scab here on the Writers Guild’s website. 

Scab Alert: Jeopardy Champion Ken Jennings has decided to cross the picket line and is still hosting Jeopardy after a previous host Mayim Bialik refused to film during the strike. 

51% Decline in Film Permit Filing in LA 

In LA, the picket lines and roving Writer Guilds ‘hit squads” seems to be having a very real effect on film production being down. 

According to FilmLA, the permit office of the City of Los Angeles requests to film in the city are down by 51% last week. The real number might be quite lower as some of the permits were requested prior to the strike beginning. 

For more, check out Deadline 

WGA “Hit Squad” Targeting Film Locations Across the Country

Under federal labor law, union workers from other unions employed in film production don’t have to cross picket lines to perform work. As a result, production is halting at many locations, where only a handful of writers may be employed 

The Writers’ Guild is forming “hit squads” to picket and shut down work on TV and film productions throughout the US. Deadline has the story: 

Last week, Wonder Man, which stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as the titular character, was shooting in Hollywood and the squad managed to disrupt proceedings. Then on Monday, the show, which was created by Destin Daniel Cretton and Andrew Guest, was filming at CBS’ Radford location, where again they were met by picketers. Given that the series was originally planned to shoot through August, one would imagine it may get hit again.

Similarly, Loot was filming in Beverly Hills and once a picket line was put up, others refused to cross it and star Maya Rudolph, whose writing credits include Maya & Marty and Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine and is married to writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson, refused to go on set.

“The message that we’re hearing loud and clear is all the other unions in town have our back, they want to support us. I don’t think they’re afraid anymore,” said one WGA member. “This is really sending a message to the powers that be at the companies that when the WGA strikes, production shuts down. And not just in LA and New York, but everywhere.”

They’re now encouraging others who live outside of LA and New York to do the same when they spot television and movie locations.

“The hope is that there’ll be a husband and wife writing team in New Orleans that decide to do something or two brothers in Georgia that do the same. All it takes is two people with signs and it could potentially cost the studios thousands of dollars,” added the source.

For more, check out Deadline. 

Check out our map of Writers’ Guild picket lines to find one near you. 

Alright yinz, I gotta run to a college baseball game at Pitt – we will have more on Monday.  Enjoy the weekend!

Donate to help us keep covering the Writers’ Guild strike. Please, if you can, sign up as one of our 751 recurring donors today. 

Keep sending tips, story ideas, comments, and complaints to [email protected] 

See yinz later, 


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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