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California’s Economy Suffering from Hollywood Strikes

Los Angeles — Hollywood writers met with studio executives on Friday for the first time since the Writer’s Guild of America went on strike over three months ago.

The Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike, which began in early May, has been joined by the Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) in mid-July, resulting in the shutdown of scripted Hollywood production. It is the first time since 1960 that both guilds have been on strike simultaneously. This has had a significant impact on California’s economy, as the film and television industry in the state generates over 700,000 jobs and nearly $70 billion in wages annually, according to the California Film Commission.

“We are fighting for the rights of the people who are working and living in the city,” said Burbank Mayor Konstantine Anthony. “And that’s who I represent. I didn’t get voted in by studios.”

Mayor Anthony, who is also an actor, emphasized the impact of the strike on secondary industries. “If people aren’t coming to work, if people are on strike, they’re not spending money at their local grocery store,” he stated.

One example is Alex Uceda’s catering company, which serves Hollywood production crews. Uceda reported a significant decline in business since the strike began, resulting in laying off almost half of his employees. Several prominent stars like Oprah, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep, and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson have each made donations of $1 million or more to SAG-AFTRA’s financial assistance program.

“I beg all the people from the studio, please, please make it happen, you know, for the good of everyone,” Uceda pleaded.

The WGA and SAG-AFTRA are negotiating separately with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Residuals from streaming services and the use of artificial intelligence are among the major issues in the negotiations for both guilds.

Earlier this week, WGA informed its members that Carol Lombardini, President of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, had requested a meeting to discuss negotiations. The meeting took place on Friday and was seen as a hopeful sign by members of SAG-AFTRA.

It should be noted that Paramount Pictures, one of the studios involved in the negotiations, and CBS News are both part of Paramount Global. While some CBS News staff are members of SAG-AFTRA or Writers Guild, their contracts are not directly affected by the strikes.

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