New York City Council’s Labor Committee Approves Resolution Supporting SAG-AFTRA & WGA Strikes

The New York City Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor passed a resolution today in support of a fair contract for striking actors and writers.  

Following a hearing, the committee voted unanimously to approve the resolution, which will go to a vote of the full City Council on Thursday. The Writers Guild of America has been on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers since May 2 and SAG-AFTRA since July 14.

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SAG-AFTRA President Fran Dresher told the committee: “My members want the same things for their children that the CEO’s making large fortunes want for theirs. We will not be stepped on and squeezed out of our livelihoods so they can look good to their shareholders.”

Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East, said: “The companies’ refusal to bargain about our core proposals – proposals that would enable writers to build and sustain their careers – is a threat to the whole industry and therefore to the economy of this city. We remain ready, willing, and able to negotiate – about all of the issues that need to be addressed.”

Said Council member Carmen De La Rosa, who co-sponsored the resolution: “New York City is proudly a union town and a home to creators of all kinds. As inflation and the cost of living continues to soar, it is important that our workforce can sustain a life of dignity in our city. Wages, however, have remained stagnant. Large companies have made profits off of the backs of our entertainment workers for far too long, shamelessly making millions and threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people. We expect the AMPTP to engage in good faith — New York City is depending on it.”

Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, the WGA East’s vice president of Film/Television/Streaming – and the next president of the guild – said that “Writers are now entering their fourth month of a necessary but painful strike. We were forced into this action because our employers refuse to compensate us fairly even while they rake in record revenues and profits off of our labor. We are grateful the elected leaders of New York City take our demands seriously and are taking a stand for the workers.”

Rebecca Damon, executive director of SAG-AFTRA’s New York Locals, said: “This is about money in people’s pockets and the ability of SAG-AFTRA members to control their own image and likeness. It’s about the basic concepts of compensation and consent. In this city, we believe in fair wages and good working conditions and unions have led the fight for jobs that can sustain a living in the greatest city in the world.”

According to the City Council, more than 185,000 New Yorkers are employed in the industry and contribute 6.5% of the city’s annual gross domestic product.

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