Writers Share the Importance of Continuing to Support SAG-AFTRA Post-WGA Strike - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Writers Share the Importance of Continuing to Support SAG-AFTRA Post-WGA Strike

September 26, 2023 by  

WGA supporting SAG-AFTRA strike

Photo credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote

The Fox picket line was as energetic as ever on Tuesday, September 26, with writers and actors walking the line with STAR WARS-themed signs, shirts, and elaborate costumes (in honor of a long-planned STAR WARS day)…and a potential end to the WGA strike around the corner.

After more than 140 days on strike, the writers guild and the AMPTP came to a tentative agreement for a new contract on Sunday, September 24. (It was officially approved by the board hours after this picket, with them voting to end the strike as of 12:01 AM PT on Wednesday, September 27.) The guilds didn’t picket on Monday—due to Yom Kippur—making the Tuesday event the first time they were able to (officially) reunite to show their united front amid forward movement for the WGA.

“The mood here is celebratory, but also measured,” Amy Berg (WARRIOR NUN, CAPER, EUREKA), a lot captain at Fox, tells Give Me My Remote. “We don’t know all the deal points yet, and there’s still a vote to happen, so it’s unofficial. And, also, we’re here with our brothers and sisters in SAG, and they’re not done. So that’s gonna be our new focus: to support them in any way we can.”

“Huge relief,” Kit Boss (IZOMBIE, THE TICK, BOB’S BURGERS) adds. “Huge sense of, ‘Okay, now what? What can we do to support our SAG-AFTRA brothers and sisters?’ It’s weird, because, yeah, I’m very optimistic—I took off the ‘WGA on Strike’ pin for my hat. But we are still on strike until we ratify whatever the contract is, which nobody’s even seen in the rank and file. But I’m cautiously optimistic that’s gonna happen.” 

“Then it’s amazing how quickly your mind goes straight from celebration to, ‘Oh, now there’s an unknown future that a lot of us are facing,’” he continues. “‘How do we deal with that? And how do we support other labor movements, first of all SAG-AFTRA?’”

WGA supporting SAG-AFTRA strike

Photo credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote

With SAG-AFTRA’s strike taking center stage at the lot, chalk messages in support of the actors’ union were drawn on sidewalks, with “Writers Guild on Strike!” signs swapped out for “WGAW Stands with SAG-AFTRA on Strike!” Multiple picketers also stopped to marvel at the size of the crowd who had shown up.

“I just remember all those days before SAG-AFTRA was on strike, a number of their members showed up on our picket lines and made a huge impression,” Boss says. (WGA went on strike in early May; SAG-AFTRA officially joined them in mid-July.) “I just can’t with a good conscience wipe my hands and say, ‘Well, we’re good.’ I do owe a lot of people; we do owe a lot to those people. And now’s the time to walk the walk. Literally.”

“I know it’s an appealing narrative, sometimes, where there are people who are like, ‘Oh, all these writers have nothing better to do than picket—it gives our life meaning,’” he continues. “Structure, yes. But I don’t want to live in a world where I’m spending three hours a day picketing. That’s not ideal to me. But, for the meantime, we gotta come out, gotta show our support—certainly while we’re on strike, technically, and even after, when there’s time available, I’ll try to picket.”

For as prolonged as the strikes have been, the WGA deal ended up being a whirlwind. The studios only came back to the table to negotiate after more than 100 days, and things broke down quickly; then, rumors flew endlessly last week when the negotiating committee and AMPTP met up again, with people claiming a deal could come instantly—or be held off for months. After five days of negotiating, the tentative deal was announced.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Berg acknowledges. “There were moments weeks ago—there were always rumors that were circulating—[saying] that it was going to be over, and then it wasn’t. So we’ve sort of held our emotions in check as much as we possibly could until we heard straight from the negotiating committee [there was a deal]. Then when we did, there was a lot of emotions swirling at once, for all of us. There were tears, there were celebrations, but also the knowledge that SAG is here for us, and we’ll continue to be here for them as well.”

As for the community that has built up on the lines, Berg cites that as one of the things she’ll take from this experience. “It’s been about camaraderie and the willingness of everyone to be out here while we’re struggling,” she says. “And it’s really been heartening. The business has changed so much over the last decade. [This is] just a reminder of how many of us there are and that we’re all here for each other. It has been really rewarding.”

During the strike, Boss kept busy on the picket lines starting the WGArage Sale, which gathered props, signed (and creative) picket signs, and experiences to benefit the Entertainment Community Fund. (The auction ended up raising over $170,000.)

“The auction—and I certainly wasn’t alone; I recruited ten or 12 other people to help, because I knew I couldn’t do it alone—gave me a sense of purpose,” he says. “At the start, I treated each day on the picket line as an opportunity to find someone who had something cool to donate. And it gave me an excuse just to walk up to total strangers, hear their story, hear about the shows they’ve worked on, how they broke in…Suddenly, I had a reason [to be there], not just being supportive at the pickets, which is obviously every member’s obligation. But to do a little more.”

“In 2007-08[‘s strike], I was a lot coordinator at Universal, and that was like a full-time job,” he continues. “So being part of the rank and file, just showing up at the pickets, showing up at location pickets, still left me with a lot of [time]. Having a task, trying to raise money, trying to make sure I didn’t fall flat on my face and embarrass myself; not knowing the first thing about running an auction, all of that gave me a lot to stay busy with.”

It also led to an important realization for Boss: “It was another example—and this is very difficult for me—where at a certain point, you just have to take the leap. Whether it’s for a spec script you’re writing, whether it’s so many different areas where it’s very easy to overthink and overanalyze, and say, ‘Well, I don’t have it all figured out yet. I don’t know exactly what’s gonna happen. Let me wait, there’s still research I can do.’ At a certain point, it’s like, no, let’s just tell the world that there is going to be an auction and then see what happens—and make it happen. So I think that was a huge lesson: you just got to, at a certain point, take that first step, take that leap where you could fall flat on your face…And we didn’t fall on our face. It engaged a lot of other people, gave us something to do, sent the right message…it was really hard work, and at times very scary. But totally worth doing. So I’ll try to take that lesson.”

WGA supporting SAG-AFTRA strike

Photo credit: Marisa Roffman/Give Me My Remote

For Berg, who has been on the frontlines at Fox, she is ready to rally for her SAG-AFTRA counterparts as the WGA strike appears to be ending if and when they need it. “A lot of the captains at SAG have been people that have joined us from day one,” she says. “We’ve been really close partners in this endeavor; they know what they’re doing. If we can provide any support, we will, but I think they got this.”

She also praises the WGA staff who were with them for the duration of their picketing. “Alec Perrin and José Martinez have been our heroes at Fox,” she says. “All of the lots had staff members from guild headquarters that have been really our support system. We couldn’t have done it without them.”


Follow @GiveMeMyRemote and @marisaroffman on Twitter for the latest TV news. Connect with other TV fans on GIVE ME MY REMOTE’s official Facebook page or our Instagram.

And be the first to see our exclusive videos by subscribing to our YouTube channel.

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases made through links/ads placed on the site.

Filed under Strike

Comments Off on Writers Share the Importance of Continuing to Support SAG-AFTRA Post-WGA Strike


Comments are closed.