US President Joe Biden gestures as he delivers a speech on NATO at Vilnius University in Vilnius, Lithuania, after the end of the NATO Summit. 230712
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | fake images
Count President Joe Biden among the supporters of the actors’ strike in Hollywood.
“The President believes that all workers, including actors, deserve fair pay and benefits,” White House spokeswoman Robyn Patterson said in a statement Friday. “The president supports the workers’ right to strike and hopes that the parties can reach a mutually beneficial agreement.”
Biden, an advocate of organized labor, previously endorsed striking members of the Writers Guild of America in May, when Hollywood scribes began picketing. Biden’s support of the actors’ work stoppage comes as UPS workers brace for a potential strike, and the nation’s autoworkers enter potentially contentious negotiations with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis.
The White House issued the statement a day after the Screen Actors Guild (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) called a strike following failed negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. With writers and actors on the pickets, Hollywood is essentially shut down. This is the first tandem strike in the industry. since 1960. The actors began picketing Friday morning in California.
Hollywood artists are seeking to improve wages, working conditions, and health and pension benefits, as well as create guardrails for the use of artificial intelligence in future film and television productions. In addition, the union seeks greater transparency from streaming services about viewership so that residual payouts can be equitable to those seen on linear television.
Similarly, industry writers are seeking higher compensation and residuals, particularly when it comes to streaming shows. They are also seeking new rules that will require studios to have a certain number of writers for TV shows during a specified period.
The union also seeks compensation throughout the pre-production, production, and post-production process. Writers are often expected to provide revisions or create new material without getting paid. Both unions share concerns about the use of artificial intelligence when it comes to scriptwriting.
The studios and their executives have rejected the unions’ demands. Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC this week that he believes the expectations of writers and actors are “just not realistic.”
California Democratic lawmakers also supported the two strikes, with US Senator Alex Padilla and US Representatives Barbara Lee and Adam Schiff sharing statements following the SAG-AFTRA strike announcement in favor of fair workers’ compensation.