The impact of the film industry strikes on New Mexico

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Writers Guild of America, representing more than 11,000 screenwriters, went on strike in May. Now, thousands of actors have joined the ranks with SAG-AFTRA.

Union President Fran Drescher says major studios haven’t played fair.

“How they plead poverty, that they’re losing money left and right when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs,” Drescher said. “It is disgusting.”

This is the first time both writers and actors have been out of the mix since the ’60s.

“For a smaller community like New Mexico, that tends to set us back more than other markets,” said Roger Ivens, a local actor. “We have the Netflix studio, the Albuquerque studio here, right behind me, this whole development that I live in of Mesa del Sol is very dependent on that. It’s brought thousands of jobs. I mean, we want them here, but what we really want is some kind of fairness.”

Ivens says the demands for major studios to improve wages, working conditions, and benefits are not unreasonable.

Unions are also asking producers to set boundaries for the use of AI in film and TV production. They are also fighting for transparency from streaming services to ensure their residual checks match the viewership of their work.

“My residuals, you know, could carry me over to meet my quota for health insurance and things like that,” Ivens said. “On the streaming platforms, since they do their math differently, my check will be, you know, pennies compared to what I earned for that role.”

KOB 4 has been checking with SAG, but so far no official picketing has taken place in New Mexico yet.