In the latest edition of his weekly column, writer Lon Harris examines the latest updates on the ongoing Hollywood strikes.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike entered its 20th week on Monday, while actors union SAG-AFTRA has now been on the picket lines for 62 days as of September 14. It’s already been a long haul. Recall that Labor Day was originally the “point of no return” date for the Hollywood strikes that anonymous studio execs warned New York Times readers would have serious, long-term implications for the entire entertainment industry. So it’s unquieting to see headlines bluntly announcing that “there’s still no end in sight.”
So far as of September, actors and writers have maintained a strong, even surprising level of solidarity, but after this many weeks, the negative impacts of such a lengthy work stoppage are already starting to materialize.
The Hollywood entertainment industry employs more than 1.7 million people in the state of California alone, paying out more than $158 billion a year in wages. Screenwriters and actors are out of work by choice, but other Hollywood workers like the fashion designers of Valentino’s Costume Group of North Hollywood have lost out on most of their business as well. Unlike writers and actors, they don’t even have hope of securing a better contract once the strikes wrap up. They’ll just go back to business as usual, if they still have a business at all. …