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        Aligned in Solidarity with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA Strikes


        8/2/2023 | Eduardo Robles

        California Arts Advocates (CAA), a statewide lobbying organization for the arts, culture, and creative industries, expresses our solidarity with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and SAG-AFTRA in their strikes to fight for increased wages, higher streaming residuals, and improved working conditions for arts workers.  

        CAA is aligned with the principles outlined by the striking unions on behalf of their members as we work to influence equitable and just systems-change through public policy and public investments that prioritize artists and cultural bearers as essential workers and that strengthen California’s arts nonprofits and creative industries sectors to benefit all Californians.

        In the face of seismic technological change, it is the artists who will continue to mirror our humanity, through their devotion to understanding and expressing our experiences, through the hard and largely uncompensated work of honing their craft, and through the unique products and experiences they generate on our behalf.

        Arts workers’ labor must be valued and honored through equitable pay, the unique fruits of that labor must be protected, and, given that the vast majority of art workers struggle financially, they must be granted the dignity of equitable living wages and the security of social benefits for their families. At CAA, our work is focused on building awareness of creative workers' value and impact to all California communities and to influence public policies to create thriving wages and social protections towards a system that is transparent about the profit calculations underpinning their compensation models.

        As California’s creative economy employs over 1.8 million workers, accounting for nearly 7.6% of the state’s workforce, we recognize how essential the creative industry is to the economic health and civic wellness of our state. During the pandemic, CAA took a leadership role in forming a statewide task force that worked with multiple state agencies to ensure the safe reopening of the arts. We’ve partnered with others to establish the CAForward Creative Economy Work Group and we lobbied to secure in 2023, $1M to develop a CA Creative Economy Strategic Plan which will span multiple state agencies to ensure a thriving future for the creative workforce. A timely appropriation to analyze capitalization strategies and public policies needed to support the industry as it evolves and changes. As we witness the injustices perpetrated upon arts workers, we must unite to bring pay equity, thriving wages, social protections and racial justice to a vital yet vulnerable California workforce.

        1. The median income of a California arts worker is $41,372. Arts Workers in California: Creating a More Inclusive Social Contract to Meet Arts Workers’ and Other Independent Contractors’ Needs. (January 2021). Urban Institute. Commissioned by Center for Cultural Innovation with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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