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Fighting for Employee Care: The Entertainment Industry Strikes


Photo of SAG-AFTRA Strike taken on July 20, 2023. Attributed to Eden, Janine and Jim on flickr. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Photo of SAG-AFTRA Strike taken on July 20, 2023. Attributed to Eden, Janine and Jim on flickr. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

The ongoing strikes by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA represent a united stand for more human-centered workplaces guided by the principles of Employee Care. Having been in several commercials back in the early 2000s and working as a background extra in the 2019 film 'Adam' over several days, I appreciate firsthand the issues at play. Though I never pursued acting enough to join SAG-AFTRA, my time on set exposed me to the tight budgets, long hours, and intense pressures cast and crew faced.


Seeing the difficult working conditions on set and the struggle of cast and crew to maintain fairness and compliance made me appreciate the necessary protections unions provide. Though negotiating primarily over benefits and compensation the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes aim to restore respect, equity, and empowerment for entertainment professionals.


By challenging outdated business practices, the writers and actors leading these strikes hope to cultivate workplaces grounded in the philosophy of Employee Care - where human relationships, relevance, recognition, and representation are valued, not exploited. Their demands tie directly to several key philosophies of care:


Human Relationships - Both unions aim to rebuild strained creative relationships and collaboration. The WGA challenges the abuse of understaffed writer rooms that diminish camaraderie. SAG-AFTRA seeks to restore trust between creatives and studios.


Human Respect - At their core, the strikes fight for fair pay that properly values writers and actors, not interchangeable commodities. Networks' resistance to standard cost-of-living increases shows disregard.


Human Relevance - With evolving viewing habits, both groups feel their relevance slipping as studios reap massive profits. Stagnant pay amid soaring budgets threatens their relevance.


Human Recognition - The crux is the struggle for overdue recognition of the vital cultural and financial contributions writers and actors make. Significant pay increases demonstrate this recognition.


Human Representation - The unions are also pushing back against technologies like AI that could make human creativity expendable through generated content. Safeguarding livelihoods resists forces that could marginalize human voices.

At their core, the strikes aim to rebalance power and ensure the human element remains at the center of the creative process. By challenging outdated practices, writers and actors hope to cultivate workplaces grounded in the philosophy of Employee Care where all can thrive.


Having experienced the hard work required behind the scenes, I wholeheartedly support these efforts to rebalance power and ensure the human element remains at the center of the creative process. The entire industry will benefit from more caring standards focused on enabling all participants to thrive.

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