Hollywood Writers Unite Over Drinks: Inside the WGA Celebration in L.A. Bars

Los Angeles, CA — After an arduous 146-day strike, writers in Hollywood had their moment of celebration at Neat, a Westside bar, following the recent tentative deal between major Hollywood studios and the Writers Guild of America (WGA). Here, we delve into the details of this joyous occasion.
On Sunday night, a group of approximately 50 writers gathered at Neat on Pico Boulevard, Westside Los Angeles. These writers had been tirelessly marching and chanting on the picket lines, showing their dedication to their cause. The bar’s dimly lit ambiance, adorned with decorative roses, provided a fitting backdrop for the evening’s jubilation.
Writers at the local rally expressed their relief and gratitude for the deal that was struck that Sunday evening. They also cherished the bonds they had formed during the 4½ months of striking. Ben Smith, co-executive producer of "Only Murders in the Building," shared his sentiments, saying, "I saw the same people for the last 145 or so days, and these people are some of my closest friends now, so it’s nice being here with everyone."
Smith, who served as a strike captain and coordinator on the Fox lot, emphasized the significance of writers and unions standing together. He stated, "This would not have happened if not for the solidarity of the writers and the solidarity of the other unions and the leadership who shouldered all of our anxieties and stress and were strong enough to hold the line."
He went on to express his love and admiration for fellow writers, other unions, and their leadership, highlighting the transformative nature of their journey. This strike had a profound impact on everyone involved.
Olga Exell, a writer on the television show "Cobra Kai," had just joined the WGA in February before joining the strike in May and becoming a strike captain. She described her experience as "the most surreal feeling in the entire world." Her colleagues showed their appreciation by sending congratulatory drinks via the Venmo app.
While the atmosphere at Neat was celebratory, the writers haven’t forgotten their colleagues in SAG-AFTRA who are still on strike. They remain optimistic about reaching a favorable deal soon.
In conclusion, the writers’ celebration at L.A. bars following the WGA deal signifies the end of a grueling chapter in their lives. Solidarity, friendship, and a sense of accomplishment filled the air as they raised their glasses to a hard-fought victory. As we bid farewell to this strike, let us hope that their SAG-AFTRA counterparts find their moment of triumph as well.
For more on "Writers rejoice over drinks while celebrating WGA deal at L.A. bars," stay tuned.
Image source: Jen Yamato / Los Angeles Times

Key Issues in the Writers Guild of America’s Demands

What does the WGA strike mean for restaurants?

The Impact of the WGA Strike on Restaurants
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike, though challenging for many businesses, has had a significant impact on local restaurants. Despite the hardships, these eateries have shown unwavering support for the strike. Here’s what the WGA strike means for restaurants:

  1. Revenue Loss: The strike has resulted in a noticeable drop in customer traffic for restaurants near strike locations. This has led to reduced revenue and financial strain.
  2. Solidarity: Surprisingly, many restaurant owners and staff have rallied behind the striking writers, expressing their support for fair labor practices and workers’ rights.
  3. Community Engagement: The strike has sparked community engagement, with some restaurants offering special discounts to striking writers and their supporters.
  4. Awareness: It has also brought attention to the challenges faced by service industry workers, highlighting the importance of fair wages and workers’ rights.
    In the face of economic challenges, the support of restaurants for the WGA strike exemplifies a broader sense of solidarity and social consciousness within the community.

Where do WGA members meet?

Writers Guild of America (WGA) members often come together for gatherings at Neat, a popular bar located in Los Angeles. Here, they celebrate milestones such as tentative deals with studios, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among its members.

Does Drew Carey pay for WGA members’ meals?

Drew Carey, the renowned comedian and host of "The Price Is Right," has shown his support for Writers Guild of America (WGA) members by covering their meals during the 2007-08 and 2023 writers’ strikes. Carey’s headshot proudly hangs near the entrance of Bob’s Big Boy restaurant in Burbank, where these generous acts of solidarity take place. When approached for comment, Carey, through his agent, chose not to respond. As one diner aptly put it, "It helps employees, it helps the whole community."

What does the WGA want?

What Are the WGA’s Demands?
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) has put forth a series of demands as part of their negotiations. These include:

  • Viewership-Based Residuals: The WGA is advocating for a viewership-based residual structure. Under this proposal, residuals would increase incrementally for every 2.5 million views of a program. A "view" is defined as when someone watches at least half of the program.
  • Minimum Staff Sizes: The WGA is also pushing for a minimum staff size requirement for every TV show. This requirement would scale with the number of episodes in a season, ensuring adequate staffing levels across the industry.
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