Day 100 of the WGA Strike: Rob Forman Explains the Stakes for Everyone - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Day 100 of the WGA Strike: Rob Forman Explains the Stakes for Everyone

August 9, 2023 by  

Day 100 of the WGA Strike

Credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote

The WGA strike reached its 100th day on Wednesday, August 9, with virtually no movement forward and what comes next remaining very much up in the air. (There was a meeting last week to discuss opening negotiations back up, but—as of yet—nothing has come from it. The studios were allegedly unwilling to even negotiate on a number of key WGA proposals.)

“Even though we’re 100 days into this strike, our resolve hasn’t wavered,” Rob Forman, a lot coordinator at Universal and the Vice Chair and Co-Chair of the LGBTQ+ Writers Committee, explains in the video below. “We know that we are fighting for not just what’s right, but also what’s good for our industry, in general. So come to the lines, come picket even if you’re not a Writers Guild member, not a SAG AFTRA member, we welcome any non-union members and members from other unions to support. There’s a lot of strength in solidarity and strength in our numbers. We’re going to win this fight because the art of storytelling, the art that drives culture, comes from a place of humanity and they can’t replicate that.”

As the union commemorated day 100 on the line, there was a little bit of everything at Universal. Speakers blaring music kept the energy up at multiple gates, while others were more low-key. Several writers and supporters donned signs and items that acknowledged the milestone. And everyone ducked the (unexpected) sporadic sprinkling of rain.

(Notably, Universal has had difficulty safely picketing. The unauthorized pruning of trees on one side of the lot made national news; on the other, NBCU is in the midst of pre-planned construction, which has made picketing extremely risky, with limited space for pedestrians. The WGA is still awaiting the city-approved K-rail to be implemented. Though there was a SAG-AFTRA presence on Friday, August 4, the actors’ union won’t officially designate Universal a picketing location until the K-rail is set up.)

Day 100 is also a key date because it marks when the last strike ended back in 2008. “What feels different this time than the last strike is that there’s a lot more corporate consolidation,” Forman says. “And, frankly, I think that our government needs to look into it. I personally am in favor of exploring antitrust legislation and lawsuits, because these companies have been buying each other up and getting too big—to the point that we are no longer in a free market of ideas. We are in an oligopolistic business now. And the government shouldn’t allow that to continue. And it’s among the reasons why we are striking: because too few companies have too much power.”

With no clear end in sight, the striking writers and actors—as well as the crew and creative teams who are similarly out of work—will need assistance to get through potential rough spots.  

“If you’re on social media check, #WGAstrike, #WGAstrong, #SAGAFTRAstrike, #SAGAFTRAstrong,” Forman encourages. “Sometimes you’ll see donation links to the Entertainment Community Fund or to other organizations that are putting money together either to support picketers with donations to picket lines of water or food supplies, etc. Or to help people weather the financial storm that is this work stoppage. And that’s not just striking writers…our whole creative community is suffering because of corporate greed. And so the community is coming together and making these donations to help people just bridge the gap until the companies come to their senses and come to the table and actually address core worker issues; it will make all the difference. If you can spare even just a little bit of money for those that are hurting and have been affected by this, really, it will mean the world.”

And while the writers and actors are on the frontline of labor disputes right now, Forman cautions this can and will impact everyone. “One of the buzziest issues, that’s at the center of both the Writers Guild and actors’ strikes, is AI,” he says. “And if this new technology can come for something that is as intrinsic to humanity as storytelling and performance, it can come for your job. What we need from our government—from our local governments, from our state governments, from our federal governments—are guardrails and regulations, because otherwise, the tax base of every government in this country is going to collapse because people are going to be out of work. This is not just about artists. This is about every working person in this country, dealing with a new technology that really does threaten all of our livelihoods. This is not just our fight. This is your fight, too.”


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Filed under Strike, Writers Strike

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