Arizona-Utah Local SAG AFTRA members are striking in solidarity with those in Hollywood against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).
"The strategy seems to be to wait us out," says Amanda Melby, president of Arizona-Utah Local. "We're ready to work, and ready to come back to the table. We want to work and get back to doing what we love."
She lives in Arizona but works in Los Angeles and New Mexico in the TV and film industry. She's directly impacted by the nationwide strike against AMPTP.
"In Arizona, we are ready to work. We are supporting our union brothers and sisters and siblings in markets where the productions are happening, who are out every day striking and picketing those studios there," Melby said.
Two of the biggest labor unions in Hollywood are striking, with the Writers Guild of America beginning in May and the Screen Actors Guild joining picket lines in July.
The Hollywood strike has extended more than five months, with no resolution in sight. Hollywood's writers and actors have since grounded entertainment production to a halt, and businesses thousands of miles away from Hollywood are beginning to feel the pinch.
Local SAG AFTRA union members and supporters took the stage on Sept. 17, all asking for fair wages and the regulation of artificial intelligence in the TV and film industry.
"I was recently working on a project and they scanned me. I don't know what they're going to use, how they're going to use that. With them scanning me, they could potentially take away another day's worth of work, another week's worth of work, depending on how they use it," Phuong Kubacki said.
She says they make much more on network TV than streaming platforms. That's also something they'd like to change.
"I hope that the streamers give us full transparency on how the shows that we're on are being played, how many times they're played, so they can pay us fairly," she said.
Chris Lamont is a WGA screenwriter and says he's hoping negotiations end soon.
"We're on day 139. We walked out on May 2 when the contract that we had with the producers expired," he said.
With many writers now struggling to pay their bills, he's hopeful it gets resolved soon.
"Without the writers, there is nothing for the actors to do, so it's more important for the writers guild and the producers to put some things in place. Because right now, if you want to have a TV show in 2024, you need to have the scripts right now, and we're dangerously close to there not being a new TV season in the spring of 2024," Lamont said.
Find more information about the ongoing strikes here: http://www.sagaftrastrike.org/