Extreme Heat Halts WGA, SAG-AFTRA Pickets In Some LA Locations

Extreme Heat Halts WGA, SAG-AFTRA Pickets In Some LA Locations

As negotiations sour between the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMTPT) and the historic double strike for writers and actors continues,  another player has entered the ring: our rapidly overheating planet, which is expected to reach dangerous temperatures at some studio locations next week.

This week, 22 states across the U.S. faced extreme heat alerts, CNN reports, and “hundreds of heat records could be set in the coming days” as regions across the country “approach temperatures never-before recorded.” One of those hot zones is Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, home to studios including NBCUniversal, Disney, and Warner Brothers. 

All three of those studios have been the focus of protests, demonstrations, and pickets since the WGA strike began on May 2, and action there only intensified when actors’ union the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) mounted their own strike in July

But you won’t see any picketing at those studios on Monday or Tuesday. According to the National Weather Service, the San Fernando Valley will experience “dangerously hot conditions” those days, with “daytime temperatures of 100 to 110 degrees common,” and “the potential for heat related illnesses” sharply increased for those outside the studios’ air-conditioned walls. As a result, Deadline reports, the WGA will not picket in any San Fernando Valley locations on Monday or Tuesday, and SAG-AFTRA has canceled its planned pickets at Warner Brothers and Disney. (Pickets at locations outside that region will continue as usual, both guilds say.)

The extreme weather—as well as another break in picketing planned for the long Labor Day weekend—might give the AMPTP a bit of (air-conditioned) breathing room as it attempts to revamp its now-tarnished public image. The coalition of studios and streamers has hired D.C.-based crisis communications firm The Levinson Group, the Hollywood Reporter noted Friday, a company focused on “corporate clients with reputational and risk concerns.” 

This new PR plan follows a contentious exchange between the studios and writers around the AMPTP’s decision to release its latest offer to the writers’ guild to the media, a move the WGA characterized as “simply a tactic in the middle of an ongoing negotiation.” Following that public ploy, talks appear to be at a standstill, and “there remains no timetable for when negotiations” might resume, THR reports.

Meanwhile, post-strike negotiations haven’t even started with the actors’ side, SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher told the Associated Press this week. “I’m not really understanding what the silent treatment is,” Drescher said of the studios’ decision to ghost the thespians. “It could be a tactical strategy to see if we they can wait us out until we lose our resolve and then they can make a better deal for themselves.”

If so, Drescher says, the studios have another thing coming—heat wave be damned. “This is an inflection point,” Drescher says. “This is not like any past negotiation. We’re in a whole new ball game. And if things don’t change radically, quite frankly, I think that they’re going to ultimately get very hurt by this strike.”

  • Riley Keough on Growing Up Presley, Inheriting Graceland, and More

  • Ivanka Trump Is Not Letting Her Dad’s Mounting Legal Woes Ruin Her Summer

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *