Impact of WGA/ SAG-AFTRA strike ripples through industry
Warner Brothers this week cut its profit expectations for the year by $500 million due to the ongoing strikes by WGA and SAG-AFTRA, and has delayed the anticipated release of Dune: Part 2 from November to March 2024.
But as the tandem strikes slog on into fall, writers and actors guild members are not the only ones out of work, and major studios aren’t the only ones taking a hit.
California’s economy has lost an estimated $5 billion from the tandem strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), according to the Kevin Klowden of the Milken Institute.
Hollywood writers have been on strike since May 2, with actors stopping work mid-July with a separate set of demands.
Virtually all Hollywood productions are shut down, as the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) representing major studios like Disney, Netflix and Paramount, refuses to meet conditions that are acceptable to the striking creatives.
Each side considers the ball to be in the other’s court.
The entertainment industry has long fueled a gig-economy. The shutdown leaves camera operators, caterers, costumers, grips, drivers, prop masters, dry cleaners, makeup artists and editors, all taking serious hits to their income.
Many workers in other unions like the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) face losing their health insurance if they don’t work the required number of hours to retain coverage through their union. At least 15,000 drivers, members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, have been without work for months due to the strikes.
Some rental houses estimate their revenues to be down by 90 percent. Many California companies are furloughing employees until the strike is resolved and productions resume.
An estimated 700,000 California residents work in the entertainment industry.
California’s state treasurer Fiona Ma last week appealed to the AMPTP to resume negotiations with the guilds so people can get back to work.