Striking screenwriters and actors rallied in Philadelphia as the labor dispute that has halted Hollywood spreads to more cities.
While Los Angeles and New York are the epicenters of strike actions, there are dozens of mid-sized and small locals across the country representing performers and writers.
The Philadelphia rally at Love Park drew actors Sheryl Lee Ralph and Lisa Ann Walter, stars of the hit Philly-set TV show “Abbott Elementary.” “This is not about your favorite stars on TV or in motion pictures. 80% of our union is made up of plain, old ordinary people trying to make a living.” actor Sheryl Lee Ralph said.
Actors David Morse also attended. “They had excuses VHS. They had excuses DVD. They had excuses of cable. There was always an excuse why they couldn’t make our lives better. AI is the one now.” Morse told the crowd. “Now if AI eliminates background workers, writers, if they eliminate jobs, who’s going to, who’s going to stream? Who’s going to be able to afford their cable bills? They are making our lives worse while they are making their lives better.”
Leaders of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted unanimously last week to start striking, joining the Writers Guild of America, who walked out on May 2.
Key issues for both unions include residual payments, which have been nearly wiped out by the switch to the streaming system, and the unpaid use of their work and likeness by artificial intelligence avatars.