The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


SAG-AFTRA members protest for higher wages and protections against the usage of A.I.

SAG-AFTRA members pose for picture during protest.

It’s been 63 years since the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) simultaneously striked. With multiple streaming services and major studios refusing a deal regarding increased residual payments, higher wages, and protections around utilizing artificial intelligence, over 170,000 individuals halted production of most movies and scripted television programs. The strike went into effect after the guild’s contract with the American Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) expired.

“We came there expecting to make a deal in good faith and what we found across the table were people who were unreasonable who told us that we were uncivilized for wanting to advocate and be paid for what we justly deserve,” said Towanda Underdue, a SAG-AFTRA negotiating committee member.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean hourly wage for actors is $36.06, however it’s important to note that actors don’t receive year-round full-time compensation due to the nature of their work. Even when actors receive higher rates, they don’t always receive the number that appears as their rate. Additional factors such as taxes and commissions (agents, managers, lawyers) negate the total rate.

Additionally, the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) deeply concerns the future of the entertainment industry. The WGA strived for a new contract that stated “AI can’t write or rewrite literary material (and) can’t be used as source material,” nor can the writers’ work be used to train AI. However, the AMPTP’s response to the WGA says the topic of AI needs “a lot more discussion.” Even if AI is only used to help or supplement human writers, the use of AI material in script writing may eliminate career opportunities for emerging screenwriters. Many writers manage to maintain a living through working on other’s scripts.

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“If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble. We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines…” said Fran Drescher, the current president of SAG-AFTRA.

Numerous notable performers have displayed their support for the strike such as Jennifer Lawrence and Quinta Brunson. People can participate in strike through rallying at near locations and posting their support and educating others on social media. More information can be found on the SAG-AFTRA strike website.

“This is what you get when you get studios not respecting actors and writers,” said Nikhil Pai, a SAG-AFTRA member.

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About the Contributor
Manar Hadi
Manar Hadi, Eastside Opinions Editor
Manar is a stubborn yet determined individual who loves to explore different cultures, communities, and perspectives. He is a junior and is arguably the best Eastside Print Opinions editor to have ever existed. Typically, you can find Manar staring at his Google Calendar, stressing over absolutely nothing, or laughing about nonsensical things. To him, anything that allows him to express his creativity and satisfy his endless curiosity is a thing worth pursuing.

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