Hollywood writers stand in solidarity with assistants’ demands for a ‘living wage’ – Deadline

TV writers are rallying to calls from their writers’ room assistants for a ‘living wage’ as part of IATSE negotiations for a new film and television contract, which resume on July 6.

Under the AI ​​contract, the minimum wage for script assistants is just $16 an hour, while script coordinators, who report directly to their showrunners or head writers, are paid just $17. $.64 an hour. Many work for these barely livable wages in the hope of having a chance at a successful writing job.

The writers tweeted their support for their assistants using the hashtags #IASolidarity, #PayUpHollywood and #IALivingWage.

“Script assistants and script coordinators are the under-sung, under-paid superstars of every television production; they deserve to be paid a living wage by every studio, bar none,” tweeted Craig Thomas, co-creator/executive producer of how I Met Your Mother and executive producer of the upcoming how i met your father.

“Studios that claim to support diversity and inclusion MUST pay writers room support staff a living wage,” tweeted DC’s Legends of Tomorrow executive producer Keto Shimizu. “The only people who can afford to LIVE on current rates are those who come from wealth/privilege. The pipeline is broken.

Mike Royce, One day at a time co-showrunner/executive producer, tweeted that “showrunners without support staff are called ‘shitshowrunners’ because imagine a scary second without them. So be sure to let your studio executives know that it’s important to you that your essential staff earn a living wage. #IALivingWage #IASolidarity.

“I hired my first assistant this year. I asked some friends what constituted fair pay, and @LizAlps et al told me $25/hr,” tweeted Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, whose credits from writer-producer include Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. “My studio pays $20, ‘non-negotiable’. So I pay the balance. But I shouldn’t have to. Standardize a living wage for TV assistants.

“I’ve never been a writer’s assistant, but I’ve worked with a lot,” tweeted Amanda Brooke Perrin, writer and creator of A clumsy girl comes out. “They have the toughest jobs and the longest hours. I have seen them treated badly over and over again and they come back again the next day. Pay them what they deserve for God’s sake.

“The writers rooms are 100% dependent on the assistant writers and script coordinators,” tweeted Dailyn Rodriguez, executive producer/co-showrunner of queen of the south. “Without them, we cannot make television. We must pay our assistants a living wage. I stand in solidarity and I support #IALivingWage #IASolidarity.

“A writers room couldn’t function without script assistants and script coordinators and it’s time their salary reflected that,” tweeted Gloria Calderón Kellett, the One day at a time co-showrunner/executive producer. “We have to follow the example and pay our assistants a living wage. I stand in solidarity and I support #IALivingWage #IASolidarity.

“Pay script assistants and script coordinators a living wage. In a multi-billion dollar industry this is simply necessary and essential,” tweeted Shameless and Kinship writer LaToya Morgan.

IATSE and its 13 Hollywood production locals — including Script Supervisors Local 871, which represents writers’ room assistants and script coordinators — will return to the bargaining table on July 6 after negotiations break down. June 11. The current contract expires on July 31.

Crystal Hopkins, President of Local 871, sent a statement she made to the Alliance of Management Film and Television Producers shortly before talks ended: “For the workers on whose behalf we we’re talking about here today, it’s not about savings, bonuses or vacations. It’s about this month, and the rent they can’t pay. It’s about the consequences of working a second job to top up the paycheck for the 60-hour workweek they just finished for you, or picking and choosing which bills won’t be paid next month. Even beyond that, it’s about getting paid commensurately with our industry counterparts and being treated fairly and equitably for the work we do.

Amy Paulette Hartman, 34, who worked as a writers room assistant on six TV shows filmed in Los Angeles, had the opportunity to address AMPTP negotiators and tell them what it’s all about. than working for “unlivable wages”. Here is his account, taken on Twitter, of his presentation to company representatives:

“In my last job as a writing assistant, I earned $16.25 an hour, for an average salary of $861.09 per week for sixty hours of work. Our weekly budget for the writers room craft service was almost double, the lunch budget was almost triple.

“My husband, who is also an assistant in industry, and I were living with a roommate until a month ago. His move isn’t really a good thing – we don’t know exactly how we’re going to make up for his share. rent We haven’t been able to accumulate any savings because 90% of every paycheck goes towards bills We are currently delaying having kids and starting a family because right now we can’t not allow us to have children, a bet given our age.

“Like many others in the lowest paid IATSE positions, we have been stuck in a cycle of funding our lives on credit cards between jobs, struggling to pay off those credit cards once we find money. work, only to find ourselves building those balances back up correctly once the show is over.

“As shorter rooms and mini rooms become the norm, we find ourselves with longer and longer spells of unemployment without any wage increases. Script assistant and script coordinator jobs are hyper-competitive and hard to find, and without a roster, we have no job security just because we’re unionized.

“Employers have used these facts against us to keep our wages low, threatening dismissal and blackball if we don’t accept the unbearable wages offered. I personally experienced this a few years ago.

Even so, she writes, “The support and solidarity I have found in the (bargaining) committee, throughout our local and from our IATSE brothers and sisters in their together were remarkably empowering and encouraging, so much so that I volunteered to speak. publicly to AMPTP regarding our #IALivingWage initiative.

Michael A. Bynum