14 June 2023
The Writers Guild of America West and Writers Guild of America East (jointly, WGA) have been on strike since 2 May. Our brothers and sisters are fighting for the future of writing and for the ability to develop and sustain careers in the entertainment industry in the face of the pressures of streaming and the looming threat of generative AI. On this Global Day of Action, the global unions below stand in solidarity with the WGA in their fight for fair pay, decent working conditions and the protection of writers’ rights in the digital environment. This is a global fight.
The streaming business model that has generated millions of hours of entertainment and billions of dollars for some of the most powerful global companies such as Amazon, Apple, Comcast/NBC Universal, Disney, Netflix and Paramount Global has sliced away writers’ earnings and degraded their conditions. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) seems more concerned with maintaining disproportionate pay increases for its member companies CEOs than discussing the proposals of the WGA to ensure fair pay for writers in the digital environment.
Generative AI poses new threats for writers, who rightly fear that studios will use AI as another tool to erode their intellectual property rights and job security. In response, the WGA proposed basic guardrails to prevent an AI-generated catastrophe and to initiate a human-centred approach to the use of AI, but the AMPTP refused to engage in discussion on shaping the use of AI by collective bargaining.
The fight of the WGA is pivotal for workers across the world. Generative AI models could touch millions of jobs over the next decade. In this first historic strike where AI is a key bargaining issue, the WGA are on the frontlines of determining whether workers will share in the benefits of digitalization, or whether generative AI will be yet another tool to drive inequality.
We urge the AMPTP to negotiate seriously with screenwriters represented by the WGA. Without their creativity there is no film and TV industry.
The Global Unions signing this joint statement are: