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Article

The Hollywood Walkout of Fame

A remembrance of strikes past

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Tinseltown has experienced its share of labor pains. Here are seven job actions birthed by showbiz.

DECEMBER 1952-FEBRUARY 1953
The Gripe: SAG prez, Mrs. Miniver‘s Walter Pidgeon, leads walkout over filmed TV ads.
The Goods: New contract grants residuals for reruns of commercials.
The Big Picture: Move over, Detroit: SAG’s first strike shows Hollywood is newest big union town.

MARCH-APRIL 1960
The Gripe: Actors, led by SAG prexy Ronald Reagan, walk over movie residual payments.
The Goods: Settlement creates pension and welfare plans.
The Big Picture: As U.S. prexy, Reagan would switch to union busting.

JULY-OCTOBER 1980
The Gripe: SAG and AFTRA seek, among other things, residuals from home video.
The Goods: Hollywood Bowl concert hosted by Lily Tomlin raises $500,000 for members; agreement for greater payments is reached.
The Big Picture: Burt Lancaster pickets in SAG’s longest walkout until now.

APRIL-JULY 1981
The Gripe: WGA strikes over pieces of home-video and pay-TV pies.
The Goods: Writers get a healthy raise in minimum salaries and residuals from pay programming.
The Big Picture: Fall TV season is delayed for some programs.

JUNE-JULY 1987
The Gripe: SAG strikes over wages and workload for cartoon gigs.
The Goods: Voice actors’ fees increase and recording sessions are shortened.
The Big Picture: Potential windfall for June Foray.

JULY 1987 The Gripe: DGA goes on its first industry-wide strike to preserve TV and movie residuals.
The Goods: New contracts maintain these payments.
The Big Picture: Yawn! Three-hour walkout lasts about as long as the standard Hollywood lunch.

MARCH-AUGUST 1988
The Gripe: WGA seeks improved residual payments and more control over scripts after they leave writers’ hands.
The Goods: Scribes get minimal residual increases and more creative control over work.
The Big Picture: Longest-ever WGA strike delays start of fall TV season till November for some shows and costs industry roughly $500 million.