California’s state treasurer sent a scathing letter to Hollywood studio executives, urging them to resume “meaningful” contract talks with the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA, and end the strikes that brought film and TV production to a halt.
In the letter dated Aug. 30, State Treasurer Fiona Ma wrote the CEOs of seven studios and streamers, and called on them to “promptly” return to the bargaining table with the two guilds.
Ma, who serves as the state’s banker and pension fund manager, said the studios have “failed to make any serious efforts to negotiate a fair deal.”
Related Story: Director Deon Taylor on the Human Cost of the Hollywood Strikes – ‘There’s People Who Are Homeless’
She reminded executives that the months-long strikes are having a devastating impact around the country, and causing “broad financial collateral damage” in California.
“The impact of these two strikes paralyzes Hollywood and reverberates across the state, affecting countless businesses, thousands of pension fund beneficiaries, and millions of Californians,” Ma wrote. “Your failure to come to an agreement is threatening the industry’s ability to ensure that writing, acting and other positions are viewed as sustainable careers in California.”
Film and TV writers represented by the WGA have been on strike since May 2. Actors represented by SAG-AFTRA joined the picket line on July 14.
The WGA represents 11,500 writers nationwide, while SAG-AFTRA has 160,000 members.
The studios met with the WGA on Aug. 22, but the union released a statement saying Hollywood execs and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) weren’t there to “make a deal.” Instead, the WGA said, “This was a meeting to get us to cave.” The AMPTP represents the studios in the negotiations.
In California, roughly 700,000 people are employed in entertainment jobs, according to the state treasurer. The industry accounts for almost 20 percent of the Los Angeles area economy.
Ma concluded by writing, “I urge your company to negotiate fair deals to end the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes promptly, allowing the industry to return to captivating audiences worldwide.”
The letter was sent to:
• Robert A. Iger, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company
• Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Comcast Corporation
• Robert M. Bakish, President and Chief Executive Officer, Paramount Global
• David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.
• Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters, Co-Chief Executive Officers, Netflix
• Timothy Cook, Chief Executive Officer, Apple Inc.
• Andrew Jassy, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amazon.com, Inc
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