President Joe Biden publicly celebrated the tentative contract inked between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The agreement is anticipated to bring an end to the strikes that have paralyzed the entertainment industry.
Biden's commendation, delivered in a statement on Monday, underscores his solid union credentials, positioning them as a crucial part of his reelection campaign's messaging strategy.
The Power of Collective Bargaining
Biden lauded the efforts of both the WGA and AMPTP.
“I applaud the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers for reaching a tentative agreement that will allow writers to return to the important work of telling the stories of our nation, our world — and of all of us,” he remarked.
He further emphasized that this significant agreement, particularly assurances concerning artificial intelligence, exemplifies the impact of collective bargaining. "There simply is no substitute for employers and employees coming together to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement that makes a business stronger and secures the pay, benefits, and dignity that workers deserve." Echoing the sentiment, the White House also released a statement, urging all employers to recognize the contributions of their workers. "I urge all employers to remember that all workers – including writers, actors, and autoworkers – deserve a fair share of the value their labor helped create," it read.
On-the-Ground Perspectives: Strikes' Real Impact
While the tentative agreement has been largely welcomed, the ramifications of the recent Hollywood strikes have been felt deeply across the industry. Dave Sullivan, a seasoned set and prop designer with credits on blockbuster franchises such as Star Wars and Harry Potter, described the strikes as "absolutely catastrophic." He voiced concerns to BBC News, lamenting the industry's seemingly lackluster response to the turmoil.
"We support our brothers and sisters in the industry, but we have to draw the line somewhere. It's completely ground to a halt and the unions aren't doing enough," Sullivan expressed. He further shed light on the plight of many in the entertainment realm, highlighting the compounded pressures of the cost of living crisis and the pandemic. “The cost of living crisis and pandemic was bad enough.
Thankfully the pandemic was over to a certain extent and we were getting back on track again," he said. "But when you go from earning a relatively good salary to nothing overnight, you can imagine the impact it will have on a family. People are losing their houses."