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This interview was originally published in video form by Breaking Points on July 5, 2023. The transcript of the interview, which has been lightly edited for clarity, readability, and time sensitivity, is shared here with permission.

Editor’s Note: On July 13, as reported by The Washington Post, “The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced overnight that its negotiating committee had voted unanimously to recommend its 160,000 members strike, after weeks of negotiations with companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Warner Bros. disintegrated.” This will be the first time since 1960 that Hollywood writers and performers will be striking simultaneously.

Over 11,000 writers across the entertainment industry, represented by the Writers Guild of America East and the Writers Guild of America West, have been on strike since the beginning of May. The strike has brought much of the industry to a halt, because, as the strike itself is reminding studio bosses every day, the industry cannot function without writers’ essential labor. Like a volcano, the WGA strike is a historic eruption of serious, long simmering, and ultimately untenable issues within the entertainment industry.

And the result of the battle being fought right now will shape the industry as we know it at a time when that industry is experiencing explosive technological change. Among the key issues at the center of the dispute between the writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) are residuals for writers on productions developed for streaming services, the threat of studios using artificial intelligence to replace writers in writers’ rooms, and the emergence of so-called “mini rooms,” which hire fewer writers. These are some among the many concerns that prompted writers to hit the picket line.

And now members of SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), which represents 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, and other media professionals, could be joining their WGA siblings on the picket line. In a letter sent to the union leadership and its negotiating committee earlier this month, A-list actors like Meryl Streep, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ben Stiller committed to a strike if a contract with the AMPTP is not reached. This moment, the letter’s signatories note, represents an “unprecedented inflection point in our industry.” “A strike brings incredible hardships to so many, and no one wants it,” They continue, “But we are prepared to strike if it comes to that.” 

As Katie Kilkenny reports at the Hollywood Reporter, “The signatories specifically called out their interest in instituting a ‘seismic realignment’ of minimum pay rates, streaming residuals, and exclusivity provisions. The letter called for a transformation of self-taped audition practices and major regulation of artificial intelligence, making sure that the deal ‘protects not just our likenesses, but makes sure we are well compensated when any of our work is used to train AI.’”

This installment of The Art of Class War was recorded on Friday, June 30, before news broke that SAG-AFTRA members would be hitting the picket line in the first simultaneous strike by writers and performers since 1960. Regardless of what happens in the coming days, though, we need to talk about this moment in the entertainment industry. What brought us to this point? What do these crucial struggles tell us about the state of labor in entertainment, and what we can all do to support the workers whose labor means so much to so many of us? I talk about all of this and more with Sasha Stewart and Diany Rodriguez. Diany is a rank-and-file member of SAG-AFTRA, and she is speaking here as a rank-and-file member, not a representative or official spokesperson for the union. Sasha is a WGA East Council member and Writers Guild Award-nominated TV writer, producer, and creator. 

Maximillian Alvarez: I want to start where we are right now. We don’t know what’s going to happen in a few hours, we don’t know what’s going to happen in the coming days, but what we do know is that this is a pivotal moment for you, your coworkers, and the entertainment industry itself. Let’s bring our viewers and listeners up to speed on what brought us to this point, where WGA writers are on strike and SAG-AFTRA may be going on strike, and let’s talk about the critical issues at the center of these interconnected struggles.

We at the WGA (and, I think, many other entertainment unions) feel that the industry is broken, and that it has been broken by tech companies… What the tech companies didn’t realize, though, is that we are one of the most heavily unionized industries in America, and we will not put up with this.

Sasha Stewart: As I’m sure Diany has felt as well, we at the WGA (and, I think, many other entertainment unions) feel that the industry is broken, and that it has been broken by tech companies. The same way that tech companies have broken other industries that had been functional and more supportive of their workers, forcing their workers into worse and worse conditions—this has happened in the entertainment industry, too. What the tech companies didn’t realize, though, is that we are one of the most heavily unionized industries in America, and we will not put up with this. And so, they thought that they could break us. They thought they could make our hours longer, our pay worse, our conditions worse, and hire fewer and fewer of us to do more and more work for free or for less pay. But they didn’t realize who they were up against.

We all know the saying, “Fuck around, find out”: We are now in the “find out” phase. We are showing them each day that we are on the picket lines what we mean, we are showing them that we are worth something, and that we deserve to share in the profits that we create for them. And I want to note that we have had so much solidarity from SAG-AFTRA, specifically, on the picket lines. Every time we have a picket, SAG-AFTRA shows up, they bring a table, their staff come, their workers (ie, other actors) come, and they’re there with us every day.

We’ve seen incredible, incredible solidarity with IATSE, the Teamsters, and all of the crew unions as well. The DGA (Directors Guild of America) has also been supportive. All of us are so angry about what has happened, and we are all standing together and fighting back. We have realized that this is our collective fight, and every single time one of these contract negotiations comes up, we are all going to step up and stand together for all of us.

Diany Rodriguez: That’s the ticket right there! Yes, I agree wholeheartedly. I will say, too, from the point of view of a SAG-AFTRA member, it has been really enlightening (in a kind of horrific way), the things that I am learning daily, hourly, about the treatment of other people in our sister unions. In and of itself, I think that’s a big reason why all of the unions in the entertainment industry should band together.

From a SAG-AFTRA point of view, I will say the pandemic did a whole lot, but the pandemic isn’t the only thing that put us in this moment right now. It’s also been bad negotiations in the past, where we knew that there was a problem and we knew that the problem was coming to a head, and we didn’t really attack it. Because, of course, if we’re not above-the-line workers, we obviously suffer from a scarcity mentality, because we’re not the ones making the decisions. And even if you are the one making the decision, you’re not the best paid one making the decision.

What has happened over the past… God, since 1960… since the studios were broken up… we’ve just seen this slow, methodical erosion of the ability for the workaday artist to make a living. Specifically, right now, let’s talk about the big key points for SAG-AFTRA right now, like self tapes. I’m in a very specific position, I’m a Southeast actor—we’ve been self-taping for damn near a decade. We’ve got our shit set up. But I’m still in a very privileged position: I live with someone, I have an automatic reader, I have editing software that came free with my Mac (those are things that used to be covered by producers). My lights were gifted to me from someone. I didn’t have to pay Amazon (which is a member of AMPTP, by the way) to buy my lights and my recording equipment. I’m in a very privileged position. There are people who live in LA and other markets who have to pay people every time they get an audition. And if you’re a connected actor, an actor that a lot of people want to work with, you’re sometimes busting out three, four, five auditions a day. That’s expensive. And we have no recourse. Around 80% of our work is unpaid labor, which to an extent is understandable. And like I said, I’m in a very privileged position myself, but that doesn’t mean that my other brothers and sisters in the union don’t deserve to be heard.

And, up to this point, nobody has brought that issue to the bargaining table. And residuals? Boy, oh boy, streamers and new media have really cut into our residuals, our ability to actually make a living. Because most actors and actresses out there in the world make a living off residuals, not their initial contract buyouts or their initial negotiating ability. So, again, we’re eliminating the idea of the working artist. And, speaking of our shared interest, I didn’t know until this point in history in my life that animation writers don’t get residuals, which is insane! Look at productions that have broken boundaries, like Moana—I get to see little Brown girls on TV, and the person who brought that beautiful script to life isn’t going to get to see the fruits of that labor beyond the initial contract, but somebody’s making money off of that, just not them.

What has happened over the past… God, since 1960… since the studios were broken up… we’ve just seen this slow, methodical erosion of the ability for the workaday artist to make a living.

And, Lord, don’t get me started on our health and pension for SAG-AFTRA. If we don’t talk about this now, we’re never going to get another opportunity to talk about this. We’ve already been stripped of so much: our healthcare costs went up in the middle of a pandemic, so people who are series regulars can’t afford healthcare right now. That’s a thing we have to address. And when it comes to AI, we are absolutely standing in solidarity with our WGA brothers and sisters. Again, if we don’t deal with this right now, in three years, when it comes up again, it will be too late.

They’re already going to be able to use our likeness. They’re going to use AI to not have to deal with us. The shit’s insidious. And if we don’t deal with it now, if we don’t try to force transparency on their end, they’re going to have a multitude of avenues to hide what they’re really doing with AI over the next three years. It will be too late. It’s already a little too late.

Maximillian Alvarez: I think that same notion—that it may already be too late—is something a lot of folks who are watching and listening to this feel on the consumer side. And I want to address this head-on, because I know there are people watching and listening to this who are thinking, “Well, why should I stand in solidarity with Hollywood workers when I don’t like what Hollywood does?” They’ll say, “I don’t like superhero movies,” or, “All they do is remakes.” The impulse is to throw the baby out with the bathwater and to blame the workers for all the things that you hate about a certain industry.

This goes back to a recent Art of Class War segment that we did right here on Breaking Points. If you guys remember, in the wake of the high-profile firings of Don Lemon at CNN and Tucker Carlson at Fox News, everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to say, “Well, just get rid of all corporate media.” And then I interviewed Bob Batz and Steve Mellon from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where workers have been on strike since October of last year, and I was like, “Look, I get where you guys are coming from. I despise CNN and Fox News and all of these massive corporate media outlets, and I have good reasons for despising them, but we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. The striking journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, just like folks at newspapers around the country that are struggling to survive, do vital work, and you can’t just conflate what they do with what assholes like Tucker and Don Lemon do. We need to be able to see some nuance here.”

In the same vein, I want people to understand that Hollywood is not just some big monolith. The very fact that we have a strike right now is because workers and bosses are on opposite ends of the negotiating table. And I would argue that a lot of what you hate about the Hollywood industry is coming from the other side of the bargaining table.

And that point was made all too clearly by a viral quote from in a recent interview that Rick Ellis did with an anonymous Apple TV+ executive. This anonymous executive really “said the quiet part out loud,” and I want to read this quote for folks just so you know what we’re dealing with and how these people think. Then I want to toss things back to Sasha and Diany to ask if you could expound upon this and what it tells us about the executive side of Hollywood. What does this quote reveal about why the things that we love about the entertainment industry are being destroyed in front of our eyes?

Here’s what the anonymous Apple TV+ executive told Rick Ellis in this interview, which was published earlier in June: 

You could cut the CEO pay in half, but that doesn’t mean the money will end up in the pockets of writers. This isn’t a situation where streaming companies don’t appreciate the value of writing in the content ecosystem. We do. But we will pay the absolute minimum we can. I see people online blaming streaming for all of this. But this is how all businesses work. When a company moves its factory to Mexico or its customer service functions to Costa Rica, it’s not personal. It’s not because that company’s executives hate their employees or don’t value them. It’s just a simple profit/loss equation. And that’s the case here. Streaming platforms are going to pay the least amount they can for everything – writers included.

I don’t mean to sound like a dick, but writers tend to be smart and love what they do. But they can also think they’re the center of the fucking universe. I know this strike is personal for them. I get it, I’d feel the same way. But this is all just numbers for the studios. What’s the least amount we can get away with paying for everything?

Sasha, your thoughts?

Sasha Stewart: Yeah, so, definitely, I agree that that is their mentality, and I disagree strongly with the premise that this is how companies function. This is not how companies function. This is how companies who are obsessed with late stage capitalism, Wall Street capitalism, corporate greed capitalism, and capitalism that values profit growth over everything else functions. This is not how sustainable companies function, because sustainable companies always invest in their workers. When you invest in workers, you get better outcomes, you get better products, you get things that people enjoy, and you get better workers who can continue to work for you.

When you invest in workers, they give you everything. And when you disinvest in workers, you disinvest in your product. And so, at the end of the day, this is bad business. It is bad business for them to say that “we will squeeze everything out.” And I mean that across the board for every single industry, because this exec admitted it: this is what they want to do everywhere. And since Apple has its hands in everything, I agree.

This is what they’re doing everywhere. They’re always constantly trying to squeeze US workers and make their profits, but that is not going to be sustainable. And eventually people will fight back. And we are just lucky enough to be in a unionized industry where we have the power to fight back now, but someday we’re all going to fight back.

This is why striking is so important. This is why unionization is so important. Because we’re not going to teach these companies how to be better companies without them listening to us. And right now, the only way they’re listening to us is through our power and by flexing our power. Because if they were listening to facts and reason, this is not the answer this person would’ve given. They would’ve said, “I don’t know why we didn’t accept it.” For our deal, for the writers, it would’ve cost Apple $18 million a year. And instead they’re losing millions of dollars every day from this strike.

I want people to understand that Hollywood is not just some big monolith. The very fact that we have a strike right now is because workers and bosses are on opposite ends of the negotiating table. And I would argue that a lot of what you hate about the Hollywood industry is coming from the other side of the bargaining table.

But they would rather lose hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of this strike than pay $18 million a year now, because—as it says further down in that interview—they are worried that this strike will have ripple effects across the entire labor movement. And they should be worried, because absolutely we are part of the labor movement, and absolutely we want all workers to stand up and demand better, because we all deserve better.

Diany Rodriguez: Yes, absolutely! I agree 100% with everything Sasha said. I will also say the idea that somehow giving people a living wage means that these giant corporations won’t make a profit is insane. We’re talking about the amount of money that creates generational wealth—99.9% of us will never know or see that kind of money. So we’re asking them to give up, again, what could amount to maybe $20 million a year.

If you’re an everyday American who feels like Hollywood is made up of just a bunch of elites and you don’t like what they stand for, sure, that’s fine. Then maybe look at it this way: This fight isn’t just for us. You think somehow that this whole Netflix movement to ban password usage isn’t because of this? You think they’re not trying to squeeze every ounce they can from you? And you think that your subscription to Netflix every month is going to keep them from going to an advertising model? Because, heads up, they’re going to an advertising model. You’re basically going to be streaming cable TV.

It’s insane. It’s insane to think that, I don’t know, working towards the interest of the everyday—and I’m going to say blue-collar—worker, because, again, 90% of the people in my union specifically aren’t Tom Cruise, they’re not Jennifer Lopez… they’re me, humans who are just trying to buy a house, who are hoping to maintain their healthcare coverage—that’s stuff that we can all agree on, I would think. And again, if you think that this is just a small problem with a small sect of people, think about what got you through the pandemic. It wasn’t Yahtzee, it wasn’t skipping rope and riding bikes outside. Yeah, I know a lot of people got into their health during the pandemic, but what the fuck got you through it? Movies, media, the artists that you look to to help you escape. And again, even if you don’t think that that matters, what do you think’s going to happen if we turn to AI almost exclusively to create your content? Because heads up, y’all, AI isn’t intelligent enough right now to create original concepts. It’s just going to throw up shit that already exists. You don’t like Marvel? Well, fuck, you’re shit out of luck, because that’s what you’re going to get. Instead of purple and blue, it’s going to be pink and green. That’s literally it. That’s the difference.

You don’t have to love media. You don’t have to love artists just like your own creature comforts. If you like your own creature comforts, then invest in this movement. Invest in understanding what solidarity means, not just for you in whatever job you have, but for this market and how whatever happens here today and over the next couple of months is going to affect you. I promise. Amazon doesn’t just make movies.

This strike isn’t going to be the end-all be-all. Next, we have to take it to Congress because we have to break up these monopolies. Because again, you think that we’re the only ones going to be affected? Do you like going to see movies at movie theaters? Good luck making these people not charge you $40 a ticket. That’s not including concessions, because they’ll be able to do that, because they’ll own every part of production. It’s not just us; this affects y’all. And if you don’t like us, and if you don’t like what we stand for, then back us for you, back us because you feel like you are owed a piece of the pie.

Sasha Stewart: To our audiences out there, I wanted to say exactly what Diany and Maximillian were saying, that if you’re off about something, we’re probably off, too. So you know how Paramount+ just took off a whole bunch of really great shows? We hate that, too. They’re doing it as a tax writeoff, so that they don’t have to pay us. We worked so hard to make these shows that you would love, and they’re taking them away from you. You know how Netflix cancels all your favorite shows after one or two seasons? We hate that, too. And we know how to create amazing shows that can last for five, six, seven, eight, nine seasons. Look at The Simpsons, it’s been on for 30-something seasons. Writers did that, and the actors that make amazing characters who you want to keep watching.

This fight isn’t just for us. You think somehow that this whole Netflix movement to ban password usage isn’t because of this? You think they’re not trying to squeeze every ounce they can from you?

And so we understand that. And the old way that the industry worked was not perfect; it had huge problems, but at least it understood that it wanted to be a sustainable model where you would make money for years to come by creating audiences, by creating amazing shows, by creating shows that people actually want to watch and movies people want to go see. And that involves writers and actors and amazing crews, directors, everybody working together. And this Apple executive, they’re definitely not a writer, it’s not a well-written answer there, that “they’re willing to squeeze really hard on all of their labor costs.” And what that is going to cost them is the quality of their work, because there’s only such an extent to which people can bend before they break.

And if you keep making writers’ rooms smaller and smaller, and you keep working us harder and harder for fewer and fewer weeks so that we’re just desperate—desperate to make our health insurance minimum—that’s not going to create the amazing art and the amazing shows that you all love and that we want to give to you. And it’s not going to be sustainable down the line. Because if we go from having writers’ rooms, where there’s 12 of us all riffing and having fun and coming up with amazing characters and storylines to two people, who are those two people going to be? I can tell you they’re not going to be women. I can tell you they’re probably not going to be people of color. They’re probably not going to be people. And they’re definitely not going to be disabled people. You know what I’m saying?

You’re going to narrow the point of view that we’re seeing. And then, also, who’s going to come after them? As in, who’s going to come and make the shows next? Because there’s no pipeline towards having writers for the next generation. Because if you only have two people in the room, you’re going to hire the people you always hired.

Diany Rodriguez: Again, if you’re not into the whole, ‘Oh, Hollywood, that has nothing to do with me, let them do whatever, I just want to sit down and watch my streamers,’—if you’re not into that, again, that’s fine. I mean, I think you’re kind of a dickhead, but that’s fine. But if you want to see yourself and you’re not a cis white male, good luck. Because if you haven’t noticed, let me open your eyes to this: the shows that are being canceled and pulled off the air are generally women-centered shows, people of the global majority-centered shows, LGBTQIA+-centered shows.

If you enjoy that, then, fine. Close your eyes and sit in the corner and just wait. But again, even if you don’t care about the art, even if you don’t care about anything message-wise tailoring to you, because you don’t need to see yourself, you’ll ingest whatever, if you don’t think that these costs of giant corporations trying to squeeze out writers, costume designers, actors—if you don’t think that eventually they’re going to squeeze us enough that there’s nothing left to squeeze, that cost isn’t going to come back down for you, just look at the grocery shelves right now. The Ukraine War had some sort of big effect on corn production, so shrink inflation happened. We were seeing it at the grocery stores.

And funny enough, we have managed to get back to a normal production of corn, yet our grocery store prices are still high. If you don’t think that this potential strike and these movements are going to have any effect on you, the consumer who doesn’t happen to be invested in any way in the artist behind what you consume, then I don’t know how else to convince you. Because I can promise you, you are going to be affected. So help us stop it now.

Maximillian Alvarez: Well, I think what it really all boils down to is that what that Apple TV+ executive, the anonymous executive (whose quote I read said about the writers) is saying about labor in the entertainment industry also applies to you, the consumer, and to me—all of us. They apply the same kind of calculation and the same level of disdain for us as consumers. So when that executive is saying, “Look, it’s not personal. We just want to squeeze the most we possibly can out of our workers for the least amount of compensation possible, so that we can maximize our profits,”—Now when they’re thinking about you, the consumer, and when they’re thinking about integrating AI, even though, frankly, the technology’s just not there…

I want to impress upon everyone that if a boss who owns the AI is telling you that the AI is capable of replacing writers, they’re doing that because there’s a reason, and they need you to believe that. Because if you believe that, that makes you weaker at the bargaining table. So I want people to understand that they are overselling the capabilities of AI as it exists right now, because they’re trying to scare us into taking less, so that’s one point.

I want to impress upon everyone that if a boss who owns the AI is telling you that the AI is capable of replacing writers, they’re doing that because there’s a reason, and they need you to believe that. Because if you believe that, that makes you weaker at the bargaining table.

The other point, though, is that if you integrate AI now, as Sasha and Diany have said, it’s going to be crap. It’s going to be slop, base-level entertainment. And their calculation is: what is the minimum amount of quality that we need to assure of our product so that people will still keep watching it or still keep consuming it? This is when the lie of capitalist competition gets put under the light, because if you effectively have a number of companies that own everything and they aren’t really, truly competing with each other, then consumers have nowhere to go and the quality of everything starts going down.

You can see it across sectors. We cover it every week at The Real News and on my show, Working People, from the railroads going down the toilet, to consumer products—the quality of everything’s going down because it is profitable to do that when you aren’t really competing with anybody, and you think the way that these executives think.

I hope people listen to Sasha and Diany about why this concerns all of us as workers, as people with a vested interest in working people having some semblance of power in their workplaces, and that we all have a vested interest in working people, not just being perpetually put at the mercy (or lack thereof) of our bosses who enjoy unchecked power and untold wealth. If you have an interest in that, then this fight is for you as well.

The strike is still going, and we need to be there for WGA members until they get the contract that they deserve. Sash and Diany, how can we collectively better support our brothers, sisters, and siblings across the entertainment industry doing the work that makes that industry run?

Sasha Stewart: I just wanted to shout out three different things. One is the Entertainment Community Fund. This is a really amazing fund. You can find it by going to entertainmentcommunity.org. It was preexisting, but right now we’ve put together a special fund to help workers who are facing financial difficulty because of the strike. And this includes all workers in the entertainment industry, not just writers. So actors who are out of work, crew members who are out of work, anybody who is hurting financially because of the strike, we are here to take care of them, and the Entertainment Community Fund is here to take care of them. So please donate if you can. And if not, even just shouting it out to people and asking others to donate would be so, so helpful.

And then if you want to join us on the picket lines or learn more about our issues, you can go to our contract website, which is wgacontract2023.org. And then, finally, a personal little plug. We’ve been creating a strike YouTube comedy show, since I’m a late night writer, along with a lot of late night writer friends who currently don’t have jobs, we decided to make basically a labor comedy show. It’s called Contract TK. The TK stands for to come, which is a little journalism joke. Maximillian knows this.

Maximillian Alvarez: Yeah. I was like, got it. I got that one, baby.

Sasha Stewart: Exactly. So that’s just youtube.com/@contracttk. And we’ve been doing just about a weekly show. Our last one just went up last night, and it’s very funny and hopefully it helps show you all the different issues. And also is a great place to make fun of all the people who we’re mad at right now, like David Zaslav and Bob Iger.

Diany Rodriguez: Bob Iger, the great savior.

Sasha Stewart: Mm-hmm. Who’s taken a bunch of shows off of Disney+ that you all love.

Diany Rodriguez: Yeah, weird. It’s almost like it’s on purpose.

Sasha Stewart: While, also, raising the cost of Disney+.

Diany Rodriguez: I will also say, and this is not a popular answer, but it will, hopefully, potentially give folks some idea of what they will miss and what is potentially at stake. You can cut ties with your streamers. It’s not popular. It’s not easy. I haven’t done it yet. I’ve done it slowly but surely. We’ve taken off HBO Max and we’ve taken off Showtime. But if you want to show your solidarity, start to cut their dollars. Again, it may bite us all in the ass, because of course, it will always affect the consumer. You know that they’ll probably jack up subscription prices if we all stop our subscriptions now. But that is a way to show your solidarity.

Another way, I would say, absolutely join the picket lines, if and when invited. It has become glaringly obvious that bodies are a big need, which is why a lot of the pickets in Atlanta have been a little stop and go, because since it’s a right to work state, the lines are not as clear cut and it’s much more difficult to convince people who don’t have as much of a vested interest, specifically financial interest. So put your body… Get your steps in! Go and get your steps in. Skip leg day and just get maybe 500 steps, more than 500 steps in, but get to your steps-

Sasha Stewart: About 20,000 steps.

Diany Rodriguez: Get 20,000 steps in on a picket line, and be a body, relieve somebody of their duty just for a hot second. That’s a great way to support. I will say, another way to support—get on social media. Jump on social media, use the hashtags, #solidarity, #WGASAG-AFTRA. Look them up. Use them. Bring eyeballs to it. Talk to people around you. Again, there are people who don’t even know this is happening, but who consume media that we create every day for half of their day. Let them know. Shout it from the rooftops. Tell them what’s at stake and be really honest and true with them, and remind them of the insidious nature of this.

I was talking to both of you earlier before we started recording of this surprise contract that was offered to the five guilds in British Columbia, in Canada ACTRA and IATSE and DGA Canada. Y’all, the AMPTP, these giant corporate conglomerates and their mouthpieces literally went behind the backs of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA here stateside and offered a contract to a union whose deal wasn’t up, and it is a bad contract, in an effort to subvert the solidarity that we are seeking here. If you don’t think that’s insidious and gross, I don’t know how else you can show support. If you think that’s insidious and gross, and you think that NBC Universal strategically planning sidewalk repairs in order to keep picketers from being able to picket is insidious and gross, then find a way to support us.

Do what Sasha said, use those hashtags, scream it from the top of your lungs, because right now what we need most besides money to keep it going, because a lot of us are jobless now, we need eyes and ears to put pressure on these corporations. If the consumer doesn’t seem like they care, absolutely they’re going to stick to their guns and see if computers can do what we do. And I’ll tell you right now, they cannot. They’re feeding you bullshit.

If you think that James Earl Jones is going to come back and do another movie, I promise you, we ain’t there yet. The shit’s open-sourced. So your cousin who has a back room in his mom’s basement is doing it just the same as people who have gone to technical colleges. We aren’t there yet. So what you can do to support us is care and spread the word.

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Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
Email: max@therealnews.com
Follow: @maximillian_alv