The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Cyrus Korir, the first place finisher of the elite mens category of the 2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon, had never run a half marathon in his life before Sunday. In the final stretch of the race, he outran second place finisher and defending champion Julius Kogo to take the victory. (Photo by Jane Millard | Visual Editor)
Pitt students take on Pittsburgh Marathon weekend
By Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer • May 22, 2024

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

Cyrus Korir, the first place finisher of the elite mens category of the 2018 Pittsburgh Half Marathon, had never run a half marathon in his life before Sunday. In the final stretch of the race, he outran second place finisher and defending champion Julius Kogo to take the victory. (Photo by Jane Millard | Visual Editor)
Pitt students take on Pittsburgh Marathon weekend
By Camille de Jesus, Staff Writer • May 22, 2024

Editorial | The WGA strike is over, but who’s still fighting?

Striking+Hotel+workers+from+Unite+Here+Local+11+join+the+picketing+actors+of+SAG-AFTRA%2C+and+writers+of+the+WGA%2C+outside+Netflix+studios%2C+July+21%2C+2023%2C+in+Los+Angeles.
(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
Striking Hotel workers from Unite Here Local 11 join the picketing actors of SAG-AFTRA, and writers of the WGA, outside Netflix studios, July 21, 2023, in Los Angeles.

The Writers Guild of America strike ended after nearly five months of picketing and protesting, allowing writers to return to work last Wednesday. The new agreement raised minimums for payment and staffing, secured more funding for health and pension plans, established new policies regarding AI usage and improved the previously abysmal streaming residuals for writers.

The response from union writers and guild representatives has been largely positive — they won. They’ll revisit the contract in another three years to continue expanding the rights of the writers in the union, and all’s well that ends well.

For them, at least.

While the negotiation is certainly a cause for celebration, it’s important to avoid adopting an America-centric view of the problems plaguing the film and TV industry. The WGA did an outstanding job forcing the hand of production studios, but while the writers of America bask in the glory of their new agreement, we cannot forget about the writers beyond our borders.

After “Squid Game” released in 2021, it became the most-watched show on Netflix, generating nearly $900 million in revenue for the streaming service. When Netflix picked up the show, they offered a contract which stripped Hwang Dong-hyuk, the show’s creator, of all intellectual property rights. He receives no bonuses or residuals on streams from Netflix.

It’s very easy to distance ourselves from problems abroad — to say, “sounds like a problem for the Writers Association of Korea” — but that places the burden on the wrong party. 

American corporations are not exactly ashamed of their exploitation of foreign labor laws, often intentionally profiting from regions which have a lack of legal protections for workers. The ubiquity of these predatory labor policies causes us to view them as a natural part of society that needs to be addressed by institutions like the WGA, rather than as something that we can change or even do away with entirely.

The expectations should not be on foreign unions to improve their policies or negotiations, but on our own domestic streaming platforms to recognize and adequately compensate for the creative work of writers outside of America. 

As we all get excited for our favorite shows to come back, we must make sure not to forget that the fight for the rights of creatives is not over. Even in America, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is still on strike, and the Animation Guild will revisit its current agreement in 2024.

Every little victory is important, but we can only rest when everyone — domestically and abroad — receives fair treatment and payment from Hollywood’s streaming giants.

About the Contributor