While Apple held its annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the Writers Guild of America West (WGAW) organized outside the company’s visitor center to protest unfair wages and job security.
Members of the local guild leafletted and made speeches on Monday, voicing their frustrations over an ongoing labor dispute between WGAW and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Members from the Alphabet Workers Union, California Nurses Association and Teamsters Local 2010 rallied alongside the WGAW members in a show of solidarity for the labor movement that publicly exploded last month.
Writers for the company’s streaming service Apple TV+ are asking for a $17 million per year deal. The guild said Apple reported $400 billion in revenue last year, but has yet to enter into negotiations with them. Company representatives could not be reached for comment for this story.
Liz Hsiao Lan Alper, a board member for WGAW and a writer for “Day of the Dead” and “Chicago Fire,” flew in from Los Angeles to speak at the protest.
“Wall Street and tech companies like Apple have decimated our middle class since the onset of streaming platforms,” Lan Alper told San José Spotlight. “As a supervising producer on several popular television shows, I’m currently making less than when I was an assistant at 22 years old.”
She also spoke about growing concerns of artificial intelligence being used by the film and television industry to replace writers and streamline efficiency during the filmmaking process, rather than put more money and energy into supporting writers’ creative work.
Ruth Silver Taube, attorney at Katharine & George Alexander Community Law Center and a San José Spotlight columnist, underscored the importance of writers and the effect artificial intelligence is having on multiple labor struggles happening across industries. Those who attended the protest in support of the writers shared they, too, are anticipating obsoletion due to AI with no protections by employers if that day comes.
“They are trying to negotiate contracts that make sure they won’t just be discarded,” Silver-Taube told San José Spotlight.
Contact Rashel Chipi at [email protected].