The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) voted to go on strike after failing to reach an agreement with movie and television studios, as well as online streaming services, over a number of issues. This comes just over two months after the Writers Guild of America (WGA) also went on strike due to exploitative business practices and low pay. The goal of these strikes is to obtain better pay and benefits for their members, including better residuals for streaming shows, as well as to curtail efforts by studios to exploit actors using AI and other similar technology.
In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that labor unions may be held liable for “intentional property damage” against employers during a strike. The court ruled that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not preempt tort claims made against the union for property that was intentionally damaged or destroyed during a strike. This is seen as a blow to many unions, who may now face legal liability from employers seeking to intimidate them into silence.
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has gone on strike in protest against low wages and poor royalties throughout the film and television industries, which they say has made it nearly impossible for writers to make a living. In particular, they complain about a lack of royalties for “new media” such as streaming shows and movies, which they say they make almost no money from. In addition, there is increased suspicion towards the use of artificial intelligence (AI) as a replacement for writers and other artists, which they say may be used to devalue their work.
The tactic of going on strike is one of the oldest, and most famous, strategies used by the labor movement. Through careful organization, strikes have been used to secure better wages and working conditions for workers across the United States. However, striking is not always legal, and it is important to know when a strike is protected by the law, and when it is not. Continue reading “When Can Employees Legally Go on Strike?”