Jacobin Radio: Writers Guild Strike w/ Howard Rodman

Howard Rodman, former president of the Writers Guild of America West (WGA), joins Alan Minsky to discuss the Writers Guild strike, which began a minute after midnight on May 2, after a near unanimous strike vote on May 1. This strike action, the first in fifteen years, impacts TV, movies, and streaming platforms across the country and the world. The last strike, in 2007-08, lasted 100 days and focused on "new media" when streaming was in its infancy and Netflix was still a DVD-by-mail company. This time, the key points are: residuals, preserving the writers room (ending the practice of so-called mini-rooms), viewership transparency (writers want ratings data and not algorithms), and protections regarding AI. As Rodman says, the strike is about a whole constellation of issues which, taken together, create an existential threat to the ability of writers to earn a decent living. There is a lot of public support for the writers, but the distance between the writers and the studios is very far apart. The writers are saying don’t use these new technologies to pay us less for more work. We get Rodman’s take on what is at stake.

Jacobin Radio with Suzi Weissman features conversations with leading thinkers and activists, with a focus on labor, the economy, and protest movements.

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