Writers on the Line

On the Line
iProtest: WGA Turns Out for Bad Apple Day
The WGA calls out Apple’s bad behavior, one captain’s bullhorn tips, and WGA hopefuls bring the sweets
Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Getting to the Core of a Fair Deal

WGA members and labor supporters at the Apple protest in Cupertino.

From the studios of L.A. to the tech giant’s campus in Cupertino, to retail shops in New York to Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, the WGA called out the behavior of a very bad Apple within the AMPTP with leaflets and in the press.

On the Guild’s Apple Day of Action, WGA leaders, members and supporters spent Monday putting Apple and its customers on notice for the company’s failure to recognize our reasonable proposals. Without the content that we create, the already limited streaming library of Apple TV + will not be worth subscribers paying for, Guild leaders said.

Outside the company’s Cupertino campus, WGA members and supporters from the South Bay Labor Council, Alphabet Workers Union, California Nurses Association, and Teamsters, leafletted attendees of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Check out their speeches here.

In Los Angeles, Guild leadership trekked from the picket line at CBS Television City to distribute leaflets at the Apple store at The Grove shopping mall. Apple stores at Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles were also leafleted.

Per the Guild’s proposals, a fair deal from the AMPTP would cost Apple $17 million per year, a fraction of the $400 billion in revenue that Apple earned last year.  Since the start of the strike, WGA actions have successfully disrupted production on Apple TV + series Severance, Sinking Spring, and Loot.

“Apple is willing to disappoint subscribers while gambling with the livelihoods of every worker on these productions,” said WGAW Board member Liz Hsaio Lan Alper, addressing a crowd of labor supporters at Apple Park Visitor Center in Cupertino. “All to keep from paying the $17 million that it would cost them to restore sustainability to the writers’ careers in Hollywood.”

At the CBS Television City picket lines Monday, WGA Negotiating Committee Co-Chair David A. Goodman said he tried to calculate the percentage that writers were asking for but found that $400 billion was too big a number for his iPhone calculator to handle.

“We asked for Tim Cook’s pocket change, and they said no,” said Goodman. “They thought we would fold, but we stood together. They’re finding out that we’re willing to fight for, what we deserve, and for what’s fair, and that Hollywood is a union town, and they can’t act like it’s one of their sweatshops.”

Check out photos from the WGA Apple Day of Action.lent outweighs a lot,” Big Boy continued. “Continue to fight. We’re listening. We’re paying attention. Stand your ground and we’ll get it.”

Wanda Sykes joins WGAE members leafletting at the Fifth Avenue Apple store in New York.

See Photos from Monday's Picket Lines

Bullhorn Best Practices by Jazz

Jasmyne Peck-Bailey at Netflix. Photo by @davidtenenbaumla.

Usually, Jasmyne Peck-Bailey describes themselves as being a pretty quiet person, an observer, even at times an introvert.

But stick a bullhorn in Peck-Bailey’s hands and the Netflix strike captain turns into Picket Line Jazz. Which means chanting, singing, reciting, shooting the breeze, or doing whatever else it takes to get the picketers amped up.

“The first week of the strike, I totally lost my voice,” said Peck-Bailey, a WGAW member since 2022. “I bring my own bullhorns, and I’m trying to keep the crowd energized and bring morale to the team. But we can’t chant all the time. There needs to be stuff between the yelling, and it needs to be good stuff.”

Peck-Bailey uses their bullhorn in multiple ways, including calling out other unions lending support on the lines, and reminding everyone that we're not the first to fight for our rights and that we won't be the last. When someone approaches them with a question, Peck-Bailey has been known to use the answer–via bullhorn–as entertainment, for humor or as a teaching moment on the lines. They have shared bullhorn tips with other captains.  

“For purposes of the strike, I wanted to give other people the opportunity to have a blueprint they could use to unlock the picket line version of themselves,” said Peck-Bailey. “Everyone is pretty shy. Writers are not usually the big-voiced, let’s project, let’s yell together sort of crowd. I felt like having something to look at would make it easier.”

You’ll find Peck-Bailey at Netflix. They often favor spanning the morning and afternoon shifts and getting to know crowds from both They’re on the bullhorn the entire duration, always building in water and dance breaks. When tour buses come by, Bailey will get in on the act, telling the passers-by, “On your right, you’ll see writers on strike.”

They don't use the horn to castigate cars crossing the picket line, since confrontational call-outs would make an already difficult situation even more tense, according to Peck-Bailey.

“Often I’m saying good morning to people as they’re crossing the line. They’re workers too, and I’m reminding people about worker solidarity,” Peck-Bailey said. “I have friends who have crossed because they have to. I’ve been like, ‘Hey come picket with us on your lunch break.’”

“These are people we’re going to go work with after this is over, and it’s going to be really awkward,” they continued. “I try to maintain kindness. I’ll be like, ‘Good morning. Did we have a good day at work? I would love to be at work.’ I try to say things like that to keep us on message and remind everyone that we’re all human beings facing the same studio system, and doing the best that we can.”

Of their entire repertoire of chants, facts, and the like, one of Peck-Bailey’s favorites is a ditty for the young kids who come to the line: a union-specific riff on the children’s song “Baby Shark” that never fails to draw out smiles, laughs, and participation. “Baby Strike, doo-doo doo-doo. Baby strike doo doo doo doo.”

“When I get a laugh from a baby, I feel so accomplished,” Peck-Bailey said. “I can run on that for days.

Some Sweet Support from WGA Hopefuls

Strike Sign cookie baker Carrie Weisberg and consumer at Warner Bros.

Nothing says “We’re with you writers!” quite like a cool treat on a hot day dropped off drive-by style by a script coordinator and her two hugely fluffy strike hounds.

Or a batch of customizable strike sign cookies prepared with great labor and care by an actor-writer-producer who loves to bake and is very skilled in that art form.

In past editions of Writers on the Line, we have highlighted the many non-WGA members who hope one day join the Guild, and their efforts to support the WGA strike. Sara Pearce and Carrie Weisberg are helping the cause in a sweet way. 

Pearce, a script coordinator and member of IATSE Local 871, delivers the popsicles. The first day of the strike was a sweaty one. So Pearce loaded up her jeep, crafted a “Popsicles 4 Writers” sign and started making the rounds of studio picket lines, dispensing popsicles to whoever needs a cool pick-me-up. Not every day is a scorcher, but hot or cold, that’s what Pearce is dispensing.

“Since I already had the sign made, popsicles it is,” she said with a laugh. “You’re stuck with popsicles.”

“I’m so appreciative that everyone is out here making an effort,” added Pearce, who has worked on Tom Swift and Nancy Drew. “I plan to be in the WGA soon, and in my mind, you’re all here fighting for my future.”

In addition to being an actress and a writer, working largely in unscripted and variety genres, Weisberg also bakes for fun. So to support the strike, she decided to create a treat that picketers of all ages could embrace.

Hence the strike sign cookies–mini replicas of WGA strike signs–which are essentially a double-sided two in one sugar cookie on which people can write their own messages. Weisberg brings them out by the batchful, usually 30 at a time. A couple of the cookies have sample pre-written messages (Such as “Do the Write Thing,” in reference to one of Weisberg’s favorite movies). The rest are blank, allowing picketers to decorate them with food coloring pens that Weisberg provides. The response to the cookies, both on the lines and on Twitter, has been enthusiastic.

“I feel like a kid inside, so I’m making my own little sign. Then if you hate it, you can eat it. If you love it, you can eat it,” said Weisberg during a visit to Warner Bros. “Sometimes it can be a nice bribe tool.”

The cookies require some serious preparation. The dough needs to be refrigerated, then rolled out. Weisberg then refrigerates the cutout to keep it from spreading when in the oven.

“These are a little unique because they have a tiny cookie on the back which I essentially glue with icing to the bigger cookie so it sticks,” said Weisberg. “And then the icing of each color has to be done separately and dried. Then you write on top of the color. That takes hours and hours, and then it needs to harden for 24 hours so you can write on them. So it’s usually two or three days total.”

Weisberg has been working in the industry for more than 15 years. She hopes to one day move into scripted TV and join the Guild.

“It’s not about me, it’s about all of us,” she said. “It’s about making sure that everybody’s getting paid what they deserve, and I feel like the least I can do while I’m not working is bake some cookies. It brings people joy, so I like to bring that where I can."

"Everyone wants to work," she added. "This is not what we want to be doing, but we might as well have some levity to it, and some sugar.”

Sara Pearce at a drive-by popsicle drop at Netflix.