(Sacramento) California Governor Gavin Newsom has reached out to all parties involved in the strikes that have crippled Hollywood, his office said Wednesday, offering to help broker a deal to restart an industry that is crucial to maintaining the state economy booming amid signs of weakening.
So far, neither studio executives nor actors and writers have expressed formal interest in bringing Mr. Newsom to the negotiating table, said Anthony York, Mr. Newsom’s senior communications adviser. He said Governor Newsom and senior officials in his administration are in touch with all parties as the two strikes stretch deeper into the summer blockbuster season.
“It is clear that the parties are still far apart, but he is deeply concerned about the impact that a prolonged strike may have on the regional and national economy,” Mr. York said. He further pointed out that “thousands of jobs are directly or indirectly dependent on Hollywood returning to work,” including crews, staff, and food services.
The economic hit could be even bigger this time around now that the cast have joined the picket lines. The strikes come after Mr. Newsom passed a state budget that included a deficit of more than $31 billion due in part to a downturn in the tech sector, another of the state’s key industries.
The writers have been on strike since May and the actors joined them earlier this month. Both unions are worried about how they will be paid in an era when fewer people are paying to go to the movies or watch cable TV in favor of streaming platforms. They also worry about how the rise of artificial intelligence will affect the creative process of making movies and TV shows and who will get paid to make them.
The Democratic governor first offered to help mediate a deal in May, shortly after the screenwriters’ strike began, saying he was sensitive to their concerns about streaming platforms and artificial intelligence.
As he enters his final term, Mr. Newsom has worked hard to build national prominence as he aims for a life after his role as governor. He is widely seen as a future presidential candidate, although he has said he does not plan to run.
Any role Mr. Newsom plays in ending strikes in one of the country’s best-known industries could boost his status on the national stage.
Industrial action rocked California this summer, and it has become common for politicians and their allies to step in to broker deals. New Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, for example, helped broker an end to a strike by Los Angeles school staff. Biden administration acting labor secretary Julie Su, a former California labor leader, helped end a contract dispute at Southern California ports.
Asked about Mr. Newsom’s involvement, Ms. Bass’ spokesperson Zach Seidl said in a statement that “this is a historic inflection point for our city. We continue to engage with union leaders, studio heads, elected leaders and other affected parties to reach a fair and just solution. »
Mr. York declined to say who Governor Newsom spoke with, whether on the union or studio side. Representatives of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers declined to comment.
Hollywood is not only a major economic engine for California, it is also a source of funding for most Democratic candidates, including Mr. Newsom.
In 2021, as Mr Newsom faced a recall plebiscite – a vote in the US system of government by which one can remove an elected official – Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings donated $3 million to the help win. It received smaller contributions from executives at Disney, Sony, and Lionsgate. Prominent directors and producers like Stephen Spielberg and Chuck Lorre have also donated to his campaigns.
Mr. Newsom’s connections to some of Hollywood’s most powerful executives could potentially help him in any strike negotiations as he continues to champion workers’ causes. Mr. Newsom also has a connection to Hollywood through his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who was an actress and is now a documentary filmmaker.
Also this year, Newsom signed legislation to expand tax credits for film and television productions. The big change is that these tax credits will be refundable, meaning if a movie studio has credits that are worth more than they owe in taxes, the state will pay the studio the difference.