EDITORIAL

Writers’ strike sets the stage

Union support at Paramount. PHOTO: wga.org
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The Writers Guild strike could profoundly affect not only Hollywood unions, but all of labor. At the core is the need for working-class control over the high-tech revolution. The film industry is a fine place to pick up the fight because it is so vast and so unionized.

Writers are determined to receive more from royalties, which have been slashed in the era of TV streaming. They are also resisting threats to their jobs from artificial intelligence (AI).

Fifty percent of TV writers now earn minimum wage and cannot make a stable living. Film conglomerates like Netflix, Paramount, and Universal profit in the billions, charging ever higher subscriber fees. Strong contracts could win a fair share for scriptwriters and ensure that AI is used as a tool, not a replacement for humans.

Historic solidarity is holding. No one is crossing scores of picket lines, all with very clever signs, in Los Angeles and New York. Screen actor and director contracts, coming up soon, may well induce more powerful strikes. Continued solidarity from other film unions and the public will bring victory.

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