Senator Webb and Assemblymember Meeks join the WGA, SAG-AFTRA strikes

(WIVT/WBGH) – New York State Senator Lea Webb and Assemblymember Demond Meeks stood in solidarity with film and television workers on Thursday.

Webb and Meeks joined the striking members of the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and NYS AFL-CIO & NJ AFL-CIO in a picket line in New York City. Webb and Meeks are both strong supporters of TV, film, and media workers and jointly sponsor a bill in the New York State Legislature to ensure the protection of workers as production companies receive state film tax credits.

“I am proud to stand in solidarity with these workers who have been fighting so hard to protect the future of movies and television. New York is proud to be an important part of the tv and movie industry. We are also proud to be a state that stands up for its workers. This legislation is by no means anti-tech, but rather designed to ensure that New York workers have strong protections, including meaningful, informed consent and compensation when it comes to their image, voice, likeness, and written words,” said Webb.

According to a news release from the Senator, legislation carried by her and Meeks would prohibit applicants of the Empire State Tax Credit from using artificial intelligence as a means to replace human beings in their productions. It’s also stated that the legislation is not a prohibition on AI or tech, but a way to protect and ensure that workers are informed, have the ability to consent, and are fairly compensated for the use of their image, voice, or likeness. 

“I am honored to join Senator Lea Webb as the Assembly sponsor of bill A7634/S7422. This legislation prohibits applicants of the Empire State film production credit from using artificial intelligence that would displace any natural person in their production. As changes in technology reshapes our workforce, many New Yorkers still go without fair wages and benefits. New York State being a major hub for productions in television and film, it is important that we protect something as innate as a worker’s artistry and talents from being used without adequate compensation. I am proud to support workers in their right to organize and take needed actions in securing fair contracts,” said Meeks.

The WGA began striking on May 2 with the SAG-AFTRA following suit on July 14. The unions continue to protest ongoing labor disputes and are simultaneously striking for the first time since 1960.

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