Strike Back

Christopher McHale
3 min readJul 14

The real issues behind the creative unions strike.

SAG-Aftra is on strike.

My career in entertainment has been marked with a marginalization of talent in favor of driving profit.

Well, of course you say. You need a robust profit. Yes, but there’s other costs to the WAY we do business.

I can give you an example.

There used to a concept in tbe US called runaway production. Quaint, I know. The idea was if you left the US to AVOID union contracts you violated agreements.

Can you imagine?

How dare they.

But here’s a subtle twist.

Producers SUPPORTED this idea. It was almost a point of honor to stay in the US and not trundle down to Cape Town to save bucks.

What were they doing? What were they thinking? I believe it was to build and support the industry and all the local workers. The local workers after all are the ones paying taxes for roads and bridges. The local workers send their kids to the same schools. They shop at the same grocery store. They are your neighbors.

One thing not fully understood about these strikes, SAG-AFTRA, WGA is they also affect a huge segment of workers NOT in the union. Grips and gaffers. Caterers. Drivers. Airlines. Restaurants. Office workers. The list goes on.

And these union workers are a vital part of our economy.

My career has been marked by a constant ‘leaking’ of support from my home industries, and massive ‘runaway’ production to cheaper markets.

That’s a double whammy.

Not only does it gut local economies, it exploits labor to create goods and then sell them at inflated prices back in the home market, while avoiding the ‘expense’ of producing them in the home markets.

There’s a false nature to all this. What is the actual cost when you use your resources outside your local market? When your local markets falter and taxes fall, and great wealth gaps are created? When teachers are underpaid and municipal workers are no longer available to do the work? When you create a jet-set elite class, globe trotting to exploitable labor markets, but not creating wealth…

Christopher McHale

Writer | Composer | Producer | Human | Christopher writes about creativity, culture, technology, music, writing.