Steven Weber on the SAG-AFTRA Strike: 'People Who Create the Product Need to Be Paid Accordingly' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Steven Weber on the SAG-AFTRA Strike: ‘People Who Create the Product Need to Be Paid Accordingly’

October 20, 2023 by  

Steven Weber SAG AFTRA strike interview

Photo credit: YouTube screengrab

With the SAG-AFTRA strike on day 99, actors, writers, IATSE members, and supporters hit up picket lines to show their ongoing support of the labor action. (The studios walked away from negotiations last week, and there’s no return scheduled as of press time.)

A gaggle of picketing regulars—who have been on the lines since the WGA went on strike—were among the crowd, including Rick Gonzalez, Danny Pino, Jeri Ryan, and Steven Weber

“There are still issues that have to be addressed,” Weber explains to Give Me My Remote in the video below. “Creatives need to be paid a wage that [reflects] the cost of living. It’s very simple. It’s always been a basic ask of our union and the WGA, DGA, IATSE, United Auto Workers, all these workers across the country. I’m out here to support my tribe, creatives, all the craftspeople and artisans and technicians and carpenters and drivers and caterers and people who provide fuel and electricity and fabric and everything into the production of this industry that is one of America’s biggest and most enjoyable exports.”

For Weber—who has starred on CHICAGO MED the past few years—he’s been in SAG since the early ‘80s, with over 170 credits to his name on IMDB. But he acknowledges the industry has changed in recent years. “The biggest change for me has been the way viewership has evolved,” he says. “And insofar as it concerns what we’re striking for, people need to be compensated accordingly. There’s a new way of seeing the product that is put out by this industry, and so people who create the product need to be paid accordingly.”

“I understand it’s probably difficult, because back in the day when I started, it was like four networks,” he continues. “So you knew when your show was on and you get paid. But now, people are watching it on iPhones and all sorts of interesting contraptions; it’s hard to keep track, but there has to be a way for the workers to be compensated fairly…the people who make the profits off the backs of these workers will still be rich. It has to be fair.”

As for the ongoing negotiations, “for me, I’m concerned about AI,” Weber says. “I’m concerned about [the] predilection [of] corporate mentality to whittle down actual human participation. I think human beings need purpose. And it would be nice to have people show up and actually perform a task for which they’re trained, which they want to do…I mean, let’s use AI to cure cancer. Let’s use AI to find out what dogs are really thinking. Let’s stop trying to replace human beings.”


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With no immediate end to the strike in sight, Weber also wants to reiterate a point made countless times on the picket lines: “People have a misconception about actors, that they’re all whiny rich celebrities—the vast majority of them are not,” he says. “They work in their chosen field and they deserve to have a decent wage. It’s pretty basic. The shows and movies that people enjoy 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all over the globe, are created by people who really want to be there. Nobody’s forced to work in this industry. They’re doing it out of love. So why don’t we reward them with basic security?”


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