New York City Council Unveils Resolution to Support Writers Guild Strike at City Hall Rally
NEW YORK, NY (June 22, 2023) – A large delegation of New York City Council Members held a rally today in City Hall Park to support Writers Guild of America (WGA) members, who have been on strike since May 2, 2023.
Nearly 200 WGA members and union allies attended the rally where Council Member Carmen De La Rosa, Chair of the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, unveiled a Council Resolution that reads in part, “Writers are facing the most comprehensive assault on their compensation and working conditions in a generation. Media companies have taken advantage of the industry’s transition to global streaming to underpay workers. As a result, writers are doing more work for less pay and with less job security. The New York City Council supports the writers of film and television and their demands for a fair resolution of their contract.”
The Resolution was introduced at today’s City Council meeting, and will go through Committee before being voted on by the full Council.
The rally was organized by Council Member De La Rosa and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, who spoke alongside Council Member Marjorie Velázquez, Council Member Julie Menin, Council Member Nantasha Williams, Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, Council Member Sandy Nurse, Council Member Crystal Hudson, Council Member Alexa Avilés, Council Member Gail Brewer, Council Member Carlina Rivera, Council Member Jennifer Gutiérrez, Council Member Chi Osse, Council Member Julie Won, Director of Workers’ Rights Claudia Henriquez from the Office of New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, Deputy Public Advocate for Education & Opportunity Elizabeth Kennedy, WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson, and WGAE President Michael Winship.
“The labor of writers built the entertainment industry, and it’s time that the studios provide members of the Writers Guild of America with the equitable contract they deserve,” said Speaker Adrienne Adams. “Writers generate billions of dollars in profit every year for studios in the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and yet their compensation has increasingly diminished. The smooth operation of our entertainment industry is critical to the stability of our economy, and yet, studios and their multimillionaire executives continue to jeopardize the well-being of their workers and our economy by refusing to negotiate a fair contract. I’m proud to stand with the Writers Guild of America as they fight for a fair contract that reflects the full value of their labor and preserves our entertainment industry for years to come.”
“New York City is proudly a union town as well as a massive media and entertainment hub. 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. Large companies have made profits off of the backs of writers, directors, and other content creators for far too long. We have over 11,500 writers who have come to the table to negotiate, and we expect the AMPTP to engage in good faith,” said Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee, Council Member Carmen De La Rosa.
“Show runners and writers are the wizards who whip up the ‘movie magic’ we see in our favorite television shows and movies that leave an imprint in our hearts and minds,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez. “CGI and special effects are worthless if you don’t have a story to tell. Companies such as Netflix and Disney cannot churn out quality content without the hard work produced by the folks in the Writers Guild of America. I support the WGA’s efforts to attain the proper wages they earned in creating the works of art that keeps major studios, networks and streaming services in business.”
“New York City is a beacon of artistic creativity that captivates audiences worldwide. We owe the magnificent storytelling to the brilliant, dedicated writers who make it possible. Without the writers our favorite shows and movies do not exist. It is a collaborative effort, and writers represent the bedrock of this industry. It is time that the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers treat writers with the dignity, respect, and compensation they rightfully deserve,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.
“Writers have shaped the world as we know it today. Bringing stories to life that remind us of our greatest memories, help us learn and overcome, and have the power to build entirely new communities and even languages. The Film and TV industry is also one of the highest grossing in the country – with a networth of more than $90 billion. The members of Writers Guild of America deserve to make a living wage, and be compensated equitably for the profound work they create – work we know cannot be done by just anyone! New York City is a union town, and the City Council stands in strong solidarity with the demands of the Writers Guild of America as they enter their 8th collective week on strike,” said Council Member Amanda Farías.
“I stand in solidarity with my colleagues in government in supporting the more than 11,500 members of the Writers Guild of America in advocating for a fair deal that will ensure our motion picture, television, news and online media writers receive the compensation that they rightfully deserve. Our writers provide an invaluable service for us by creating content that our residents and families can enjoy for generations and they deserve to be paid fairly and accurately for their labor. I want to thank Council Member De La Rosa and everyone else involved in today’s rally for their support of the WGA and commitment to pay equity,” said Bronx Borough President, Vanessa L. Gibson
Lowell Peterson, Executive Director of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, “So many writers live and work in New York – and so many series and feature films are produced in the City. We are inspired and energized by the support of the New York City Council, whose members recognize that the health and long-term prosperity of the City’s film and TV industry depends on Writers Guild members being able to build and sustain good middle-class careers.”
Michael Winship, President of the Writers Guild of America, East, said, ““On behalf of all the members of the Writers Guild East currently on strike against the major studios, networks and streaming services — but especially those of us who call New York home — I thank the New York City Council for this resolution of support and solidarity. Over the years, the council has helped make the entertainment capital of the world even greater. We take inspiration from our lives here. There’s no other union town like it.”
The Writers Guild of America, East and the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) are labor unions representing writers in motion pictures, television, cable, digital media, and broadcast news. The Guilds negotiate and administer contracts that protect the creative and economic rights of their members; conduct programs, seminars, and events on issues of interest to writers; and present writers’ views to various bodies of government. For more information on the Writers Guild of America, East, visit www.wgaeast.org. For more information on the Writers Guild of America West, visit www.wga.org.