The 2023 Writers’ Strike: Salary and AI Concerns


via Writers Guild West Instagram account.

Jack McCarthy

On May 2, 2023, at 12:01 am (PST), a war between the Writers Guild of America labor union and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers began. It is now being considered the largest interruption to American television and film production since the COVID-19 pandemic, as the production of most shows and films have either been delayed or canceled completely. But why? What’s this war about? 

The Strike & Its Goals

The AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) failed to reach the deadline for an agreement with the WGA (Writer’s Guild of America) proposed to them on April 18th. The demands of that agreement included: increase the writer’s average salary, demand “mandatory staffing” so that a writer is at least doing something when working in production, and, the best reason in my opinion, limit the use of AI writing shows for them so that they don’t replace writers completely. Writers have been picketing outside major studios on both the east and west coasts of the United States, in New York City and Los Angeles. 

The week has shown, I think, just how committed and fervent writers’ feelings are about all of this. They’re going to stay out until something changes because they can’t afford not to.

— Chris Keyser, a member of the WGA negotiating committee

The WGA has also set some strict rules for its protestors, such as not participating in writing, revising, or reviewing future ideas with members of the AMPTP, or they will face punishments such as fines or banishment from the Guild. They also stated that fictional podcasts must stop production completely.

How Long Will it Last?

If you’re looking for the short answer: long. It’s likely that the strike will not be over for a while. Members of the AMPTP are prepared for a strike they say will last 100 days or more. After all, this isn’t the first strike they’ve been through.  In 2007, writers picketed from November 5, 2007, to February 12, 2008, with writers again picketing in the streets of the major cities on the coasts of the United States. It cost the Los Angeles economy $2.1 billion to continue the production of shows affected during that time.

If you would like to keep up to date with how the strike is going from the WGA, here is a link to their Instagram.