Hollywood Writers Go On Strike

Last week, the big news was that the Writer’s Guild of American, a union of writers for television and movies, went on strike. To go on strike is to stop working to protest something that you think is wrong, or to get a company or organization to give you something you believe you deserve. We talked about going on strike in ESL Podcast 252 – A Workers Strike.

What’s the big deal (great importance) about Hollywood writers going on strike?


The writer’s union going on strike actually affects a lot more than just what you see–or don’t see–on TV and in the movies. It’s has a big impact (influence) on the California economy. When writers strike, shows and movies shut down (end work), and not only are actors and directors out of work, many people associated with the TV and movie business are out of work, too. These include the people who work behind the scenes or in the background, such as janitors (people who clean), parking lot attendants (people who park cars and take care of parking lots), dry cleaners (people whose job is to clean clothes), carpenters (people who build things), and many, many other types of businesses and workers. Many of these people will lose their jobs while the writers are on strke.

The last time the writer’s union decided to strike was in 1988. The walk-out lasted 22 weeks. For the sake of (for the good of) all of the people who make a living (make money to live) from the entertainment industry, let’s hope that this will be a very short strike.

~ Lucy

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12 Responses to Hollywood Writers Go On Strike

  1. ESLPodcast Google Group says:

    When the writers are on strike the Hollywood´s fuel is reduced.

  2. Pedro says:

    Hi, Lucy,

    Is there such thing as the Podcaster’s Guild? Or for the matter, the Blogger’s Union?

    – Pedro

  3. Dr. Lucy Tse says:


    There isn’t a union for podcasters or blogger that I know of. Both of these media are probably too new, but maybe in time.


  4. emiliano says:

    I listen about the strike, and now I may see it is more serious that it appears. You are also a writer Lucy as we know by Jeff that you write all the scripts of podcast, so
    ¿What do you think about this strike?. May we have your opinion about it as you do that work and know it better than we know?.
    As a matter of fact in a movie all is important, there are a lot of people working, but a movie without a good script is nearly nothing.
    The actors are very well paid, sometimes too much….., should be possible to share some earns with writers?
    And if a film is successful and the writer has done a good script ¿why do not share some incomes with him or her?
    If so, it shoulb be a good incentive for all of them and also tv. or films quality should be increase?

  5. Pedro says:

    Speaking of unions, there are some talks a few years back about forming a computer programmar’s union. Does anyone know what comes to it? I have not heard about the subject lately.

    Also, the multi-talented people like Tina Fay who wear many hats, a producer, a director, an actor, and, of course, a writer. I wonder which side they belong to when the writers go on strike?

    – Pedro

  6. Igor Grivko says:

    Yesterday I’ve heard on radio about two strikes in Europe. One is in France, the workers of transportation system are against the new pension system of the goverment, And almost the same strike is in Germany, where almost all trains will stop. The employees in Germany want to have a bigger salary and some bonuses for overworking.

    I am not very worried about Hollywood writers strike, I cannot remember when I see a film (so you may guess that I am not a movie buff). Or no, in the afternoon when I have a lunch I watch TV with some American detective film, the every episode begins with a corpse and this is not a thing that you want to see during your lunch, don’t you?

    But the strikes all over the world remind me our Russian revolution in 1917 with a lot of blood followed by many years of terror that you probably cannot imagine.
    The revolution is the worst thing in this world. The first revolution in February of 1917 was preparing for the October revolution, when Lenin became a ruler of Russia. He wrote: “the more priests you will kill the better”. About 50 millions were killed in the Civil War after this revolution.

    Emiliano, please give my best to your wife. God bless you both.

  7. Pedro says:

    Hi, Igor,

    You’re right. The images of the dead bodies won’t help one’s digestion 🙂

    Since you’re not a movie buff, I don’t know if you have seen the movie “Doctor Zhivago.” Your comments about the film and revolutions remind me of this movie. This is one of my all-time favorite movies. I like both the old version and the new one — and cannot remember how many times I have watched this film. Is the film or the book popular in Russia today?

    Learning Russian is one of the items on my life list — the to-do list before I die — because so many wonderful books were written in Russian. Last year, I re-read Anna Karenina. During this Christmas break, I am going to re-read “War and Peace.”

    – Pedro

  8. Igor Grivko says:

    Hi Pedro!

    Good for you! One of my co-worker told me that he never could read “War and Peace”, this novell seems to him very dull. Isn’t it funny? And one remark about the title of this novell. “War and Peace” – this is the title, but in the old orthography we had another letter and another word for “Peace”, so it may be titled as “War and Society” or may be “War and World”.

    As far is it concerns to “Doctor Zhivago” – I never read it (in USSR it was a forbidden book). It is a shame! Now I have no time to read it. I never saw a film. I cannot say that this book or this film is very popular in Russia now. Now we are getting people without a culture, so Pepsi and Coca-Cola, and money and luxury are the most desired things for most of our nation.

    I really like poetry, especially Pushkin, Esenin and others. I like Shakespeare too. So it might be interesting to you a one poem of Esenin. We have a song on this lyrics and it is quite popular.

    Sergei Esenin (Yesenin)
    (4 Oct. 1895 – 27 Dec. 1925)

    Maple bare of foliage, freezing in the snowstorm,
    Why are you bent over as the wind is blowing?

    Have you witnessed something? Have you heard some tidings?
    It’s as if beyond the village you’ve gone striding.

    Like a drunken watchman, straying off the roadway,
    In a drift you tumbled, now your leg is frozen.

    I too am unsteady on my feet, I’m thinking,
    And I can’t get home when I have been out drinking.

    Here I met a willow, there a pine I greeted,
    To a song of summer both of them I treated.

    I’d a feeling I too was a maple like you,
    Not a bare and bald one, but bright green and thriving.

    By both common sense and modesty deserted,
    In a lustful frenzy I embraced a birch-tree.

  9. emiliano says:

    Thank you Grivko for your kinds words and we need too much what you said.
    But now I want to tell you something about “Doctor Zhivago” which is one of my favorites films, as Pedro said about him too. And it is possible that no many people know that Doctor Zhivago was shooted in Spain as it was imposible to do it in Rusia. David Lean the director
    did nearly all the work in Soria, a place of Spain that in winter is very cold, with lots of trees and snow like your country.
    The film is great, my wife loves it, me too of course. We have seen it several times and it is one of the great works of David Lean a great english director. In fact one of my favorites.
    Also Grivko as you are from Mocou? I want to tell you that this city Moscou was one of our dreams to visit when we, my wife and me, were very young. and San Petesburgo also. Those times was forbidden for spanish people to visit Rusia of course, think we had a very different politic situation than you, but very similar in other ways, without freedon at all.
    Yes, I read “War and Peace”, so good and marvellous novel, also saw the film several times. I love that novel…., and hate war as Tolstoy did, and it is so clear in his novel. I have also an idea about Spain and Rusia, quite differents countries, but very similar in some ways. Lots of spanish people went there when civil war took place here. You like Don Quijote, and we love your music and dances, and our two countries defeated Napoleon when he wanted to invaded our lands, that was great and historic.
    The best for you and your people, in other life it is possible we may visit your great country.

  10. Dr. Lucy Tse says:

    I’ve read a few newspaper articles about the strike, but I still don’t think I have a good enough understanding of the issues that still need to be settled. I know that the problem is over Internet and “new” media, and how writers will get paid for their work. My instinct is usually to support the underdog (the people with less power), but the best case scenario (best situation; best result) is that both sides feel that they won something out of the negotiations.

    Of course, as a writer for this podcast, I hope that the writers get what they deserve.

  11. Igor Grivko says:

    Hi Emiliano, thank you very much for your loving Russia. I do love Russia too. Now we are having some problems in our country but I do hope we will be able to get rid off them,

    Hi Lucy, very glad to hear from you in this blog. It is quite hard task to determine “what a writer deserve”. We have two great Russian classics – Tolstoy and Dostoevskiy. Tolstoy was very much more paid for his work because … he was rich. Dostoevskiy was very poor (and he was a gambler as well) so he needed money very badly and sometimes he wrote very fast. He sold his novells in advance, before he had finished them, so the price was quite less than for Tolstoy. Isn’t it funny?

  12. emiliano says:

    Bravo Lucy, “te mojaste por fin”, and I love that word underdog
    Thank you, I agree with your opinion and with your support to the underdog.

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