Hollywood’s biggest strike in recent history occurred in 2023, starting on May 2nd. The strike involved both writers and actors who joined forces to protest against reduced pay in the streaming era and the threat posed by artificial intelligence (AI) to their industry.
This strike was the largest interruption to American television and film production since the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a significant event that garnered widespread attention and had a major impact on the entertainment industry.
The strike lasted for nearly four months, making it one of the longest and most impactful labor disputes in Hollywood’s history. It was the first industry-wide shutdown in 63 years, with actors joining writers on picket lines for the first time since 1960.
The primary issues at stake during the strike were the declining pay rates for writers and actors in the streaming era and concerns over the increasing use of AI in the industry. The shift from traditional theatrical and broadcast media to streaming platforms led to changes in how talent is compensated, and many felt that their earnings were not keeping up with the changing landscape.
Additionally, the emergence of AI technology raised concerns about job security and the potential replacement of human actors and writers with digital counterparts. These concerns added to the urgency and significance of the strike.
After months of negotiations, a tentative deal was reached between the actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA, and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on November 8th. The details of the agreement were not disclosed, but it was seen as a victory for the unions and a significant achievement for the striking workers.
However, it is important to note that the circumstances that led to the strike, such as the shift to streaming and the rise of AI, have not been resolved. These issues are likely to resurface in future negotiations and may continue to shape the future of the entertainment industry.
The gains made by the writers and actors during this strike could also inspire other Hollywood unions to take action or embolden the same guilds in future negotiations. The labor disputes have highlighted the need for fair compensation and job security in an industry that is rapidly evolving due to technological advancements.