History of Strikes in Hollywood

Strikes can be pivotal in Hollywood, too, the same as in any other industry or field in the world. To address some serious issues and shed light on them to get fair treatment. They deliver an effective and influential way for the workers, for instance, writers, actors, and crew members, to unanimously voice their thoughts and concerns. 

Besides demanding better working conditions and compensation, the workers may also fight for their creative rights. Strikes are a great way to bring attention to noteworthy issues and direct parties to optimistic changes that benefit both ends. 

It is a way for the industry to evolve and ensure that they cherish and respect the valuable contributions of all employees.  Strikes in Hollywood are not unusual. Instead, workers commonly use strikes as a widely accepted method to demand their rights. 

The all-so-glittery and glamorous Hollywood, the ultimate hub of the entertainment industry, has seen its reasonable share of strikes till now. These strikes have played an imperative part in molding the favorable conditions of the skillful workers, who, with great efforts, bring the best content to our TV and mobile screens. 

In the digital era, these workers, with their ingenious skills, craft incredible content for us. People are admiring the content on streaming platforms. 

Since the accessibility of streaming platforms globally, for instance, the audience demands more and more unique content in Hulu France, and many other regions. Thus, the rise in demand for writers also led to an increase in their rights and remuneration. 

Let us take you on a quick ride, familiarizing you with the strikes that happened in the past. You may know that Dont Cross the Picket Line is not a new phenomenon in Hollywood. 

The Silent Era and The Rise of Labor Union

During the initial days of Hollywood, the labor conditions were very severe and exploitative. The workers had to face long working hours. On top of that, there are uncertain and unsafe working conditions, too. They needed to be provided with the suitable wages.

As a result, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) came into existence. To advocate and fight for the workers’ rights, bring forth favorable terms, and negotiate better conditions for them. 

The Writers Strike of 1945

Further, the sudden and unexpected strike by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) brought Hollywood to a standstill. The writers demand fair and rightful compensation for their work. And not only that, they demand the whole creative control over that. 

This impulsive strike later paved the road for enhanced and promising contracts. Moreover, it highlighted the importance of writers in the entertainment industry. 

The Writers and Actors Strike of 1960

The noteworthy issues of this strike are the Foreign and subsidiary rights on television scripts. Furthermore, the rerun rights proceed from selling post-1948 films to television and a reliable pension system for SAG.

The strike went 153 days for WGA and 43 days for SAG. This strike was prominent and successful because many notable and award-winning actors participated. At the same time, they were making it successful by getting a high salary bump for both writers and actors. 

The Writers Strike of 1973

This strike of the writers went on for 111 days. The key issues that compelled the employees to raise their voices were the pay and the unsuitable benefits. However, this strike didn’t halt the work entirely. 

Even though it lasted for almost 16 weeks, no one wrote new episodes for soap operas and even the other shows. Within the first few weeks of the strike, the results were apparent and didn’t influence the major prime-time shows and content. 

The Writers Strike of 1981

The fast-paced home videos and the TV markets were the reason for the strike. The writers went on strike for 96 days, while the actors went for 77 days. However, these strikes happened at a difference of almost a year.

Nevertheless, the reason for it was the same. The strikers demanded their share of the revenue from the fastest-growing market, video cassettes.  As an outcome, the producers get a share of revenues from those markets. Plus, the increase in base pay. 

The Writers Strike 2007-2008

In this digital age, streaming platforms have revolutionized how we consume media. However, the writers felt they needed to get more on the receiving end from these platforms. They believe that their work compensation is not on fair terms. 

In contrast, they demand increased residuals on these platforms and online downloads. In addition to it, they wanted a better work environment and conditions. This strike lasted for 100 days. It cost a billion dollars in loss in revenue for the industry. 

This strike is said to be the most historic and memorable, which, despite all the odds, was successful in securing a secure position for future negotiations and contracts. 

The Current Writers and Actors Strike 

After all these years, on May 2, 2023, many writers and actors are again on strike. About 12,000 writers are on strike, while the number of actors is to be 160,000. It has been several months since the start of this strike for the increase in residuals due to the rise in streaming platforms and AI recreation. 

It is said to be the second longest strike, which is still going on for an indefinite period. Many proposals were made, but they eventually were rejected by the WGA. The negotiations are said to start again by the end of the Sept. 

Wrapping Up

Uniting on a platform provides a fair chance to effect an optimistic change and ensures that every worker’s contribution means a lot and is valued. Strikes ensure that the industry is evolving and directed on the right path, promoting a more unbiased and inclusive atmosphere for all.

By Grace