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The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

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Writers and actors united

A changing entertainment landscape
Alicia Mainjeni

Ever since the end of the pandemic it seems that labor movement and action has risen to a new level. Whether that is the unionization of Amazon facilities, teachers strikes, nurses strikes, UPS strikes and of course, the writer and actors strikes. Overall, worker strikes have risen by 52% since 2022 alone. However, this isn’t the first time writers specifically have gone on strike. In fact, the last strike was relatively recent in comparison to other industries — being in 2007-2008 and lasting 100 days. With a precedent set for 100 days, people are beginning to wonder how long will this one last? Though there is never any tell as to how long most strikes will last, the writers are fueled up and angry. 

Back at the beginning of the strike, a studio executive told Deadline that “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses.” This was later reiterated by an insider who called it “a cruel but necessary evil.” These comments resonated with a lot of the public who have been having economic problems themselves, so it was no surprise that this sparked major backlash which caused a surge in funding to the Entertainment Community Fund: a hub for supporting the workers strike financially. It’s not just writers who are in this; actors, late night TV hosts and celebrities have been affected by the strike and have taken a huge part in it with some coming out in support, one such celebrity is Margot Robbie. 

When Margot Robbie first started her career she joined Actors Equity, an Australian actors union. Recently a video has resurfaced of Robbie talking about how Actors Equity helped her early on in her career. “There’s technical things that for someone who is new to acting you don’t know what it’s about or what you’re entitled to,” Robbie said in the video. Jason Sudeikis who plays Ted Lasso on the hit tv show “Ted Lasso” was seen on the picket lines. “We’ll strike as long as it takes,” Sudeikis said. 

Margot Robbie isn’t alone on the actors front. The cast of Oppenheimer walked out during a London premiere as the Hollywood’s actors union went on strike for the first time in more than 40 years. The actors’ side of the strikes have a list of demands including higher pay and tighter regulations on the use of AI in projects. AI use in projects has not taken off yet, but actors are trying to get ahead of the curve out of fear that they will become useless in the face of AI just putting their face and voice onto something without them actually having to act. People might be shocked by the demand for more pay but the reality is not all actors are rich celebrities with mansions. Ever since the age of streaming it is nearly impossible to live off of acting alone. And most of them as a matter of fact are living paycheck to paycheck and rely on second jobs to make ends meet. 

Another question that has been floating around is how will this affect upcoming movies and shows? Most productions have been halted at this point, and it seems that a domino effect is happening. A studio will typically have projects planned out years in advance, so when one is pushed back it affects the one following it, and the one following that one and so on. What we get is a domino effect that pushes studios’ schedules back by years. Studios do have a short term solution to this problem though, they will tend to stockpile movies and shows in preparation for something like the recent strikes or the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The writers’ and actors’ strike represent a broader change in American culture. Workers strikes and action is only expected to continue in the following years, and CEOs are coming to terms with that slower than average Americans. A survey from Gallup that came out August 30, 2022, showed that 71% of Americans now approve of labor unions. This is a seven percent increase from 64% prior to the pandemic and the third highest Gallup has recorded. With the highest being 75% in 1953. 

The writers and actors strike is a perfect demonstration of the mentality shift that seems to be happening in America and how labor action is picking up steam. It goes to show what people, specifically Americans, can do when united. 

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About the Contributors
Jaiden Leary, Echo Staffer
Hi my name's Jaiden Leary, I'm a junior and I like writing stories about politics and what's going on in the world. My current hobbies are reading and walking my dog. 
Alicia Mainjeni, Managing Editor
Hey y’all!! My name is Alicia and I am one of three peachy Managing Editors for Echo :). I am a junior and this is my third year as a staffer. In my free time you can find me making jewelry, running around on stage, being an academic homework nerd or laughing until I cry. I am so excited to contribute to this wonderful paper for yet another year. I can't wait to center student voice and inform students about topics that involve them.

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