Hollywood’s strikes may be over, but the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s work is just getting started as it has launched a “Back to Work” fundraising campaign to provide support for entertainment workers who face continued financial strain due to the six-month work stoppage.
“While the agreement between the WGA and AMPTP and the tentative agreement between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP are certainly encouraging, our crews will continue to struggle for many months to come,” MPTF president and CEO Bob Beitcher said. “The financial and emotional pain will not be flipped off like a light switch but will require months or longer to heal.”
Multiple filmmakers and executives have already provided lead donations to the “Back to Work” campaign, including “Dune” director Denis Villeneuve, “Oppenheimer” director Christopher Nolan and his wife and producer partner Emma Thomas.
“We are thrilled that SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP have tentatively agreed to a new contract, but it will be a while before most of our industry colleagues are back at work, and the MPTF is going to play a vital part in supporting crews as they return to set,” Thomas said in a statement.
Between the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Hollywood productions were shut down for a combined 191 days, leaving tens of thousands of crew members exhausting their financial reserves to make ends meet. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 45,000 production jobs were lost due to the strikes.
As TheWrap reported on September, thousands of IATSE members had pulled money from their retirement plans in order to cover expenses. The financial strain suffered by crew members is expected to play a factor in next year’s contract talks for IATSE and Teamsters Local 399.
In mid-August, Beitcher warned Hollywood in an open letter that the MPTF was receiving more demand for financial assistance than its current funds could provide, and called on industry leaders to lend their support. Since then, millions have been donated to the fund, with MPTF now estimating that it provides $500,000 per week in aid to entertainment workers in need.
“’Back To Work’ came out of a recent MPTF board meeting, with many of our board members and long-time donors reflecting on the long tail this kind of work stoppage will have for our crews,” Beitcher said. “This organization was built by Hollywood to take care of our own in times of need. And the need is great now and will be for some time to come.”
More information on the “Back to Work” campaign and how to donate can be found on the MPTF website.