3rd UPDATE, 1:40 PM: Improving air quality conditions in New York City today has seen the Writers Guild of America East return to the picket line.
After nearly two days of no action by striking scribes as the Northeast has been coated in hazardous air from over 400 wildfires blowing down from Canada, masked WGA East members headed out to try to halt production on Daredevil: Born Again. A frequent target of the WGA East’s Rapid Response teams, the Charlie Cox-led Disney+ revival is filming Friday at the Silvercup East facilities in Queens.
While Daredevil is the only WGA East picket today, the guild plan to kick things back in gear next week, weather permitting. A variety of locations and studios HQs are on the menu starting Monday, sources tell me. Add to that, the weather delayed Bring Your Child to Picket event is now set for June 13
Again, weather permitting. A qualifier that looks good for the 55 million residents of the region as conditions have noticeably improved in the past 12 hours, and look to get even better — fingers crossed.
PREVIOUSLY, JUNE 7 PM: With indoor and outdoor events, flights and more all over the Northeast being cancelled because of the apocalyptic weather, the Writers Guild of America East has decided to pull the plug on all pickets for the rest of the week too.
The terrible air quality in New York City is due to smoke being blown across the border from hundreds of wildfires in Canada.
So, less than a day after shuttering Wednesday’s labor actions to protect the health of their members, the WGA East took to social media this afternoon to call off any plans for Thursday or Friday picketing:
Conditions in NYC and the Tri-State area are actually anticipated to get worse on Thursday morning before possibly improving into the weekend.
As one of but many examples, tonight’s performance of Hamilton has went dark less than two hours before its 8 p.m. ET start because so many cast members are sick.
With skies that visibly thickened throughout the day, NYC’s Air Quality Index reached a new record of 392 on Wednesday afternoon local time. To put that in context, that later record shattered the “Hazardous” level record established just a few hours earlier in the day. About 55 million people in the region are affected by the horrible air, which has put NYC at or near the top of major cities with the worst air quality in the world.
As you can see here:
PREVIOUSLY, 10:55 AM: Stay on strike, but stay inside.
The thick smoke covering New York City has paused the striking Writers Guild of America East’s efforts to shut down shows and take to the streets with pickets.
Now in its second month, the scribes’ public labor actions was cancelled by Guild leadership late last night:
Making the health of their members the top priority, WGA East leadership is currently contemplating how long they will keep pickets and the Rapid Response teams off the streets, sources say. In the interests of safety, that TBD could mean WGA East stands down the rest of the week, I’m told.
The WGA East had scheduled a Latine Salon Picket Day and a Bring Your Child to the Picket Day for Thursday outside Warner Bros Discovery’s Park Avenue South offices. Events unlikely to occur in the interests of safety if today’s conditions stay the same in the five boroughs and nearby.
With the National Weather Service issuing an Air Quality Red Alert for the Big Apple and parts of the Tri-State area this morning, this is the worst air the city has experienced in about 60 years. Hindering airports in the region and prompting advisories for people to stay inside unless they absolutely must go out with a mask on, the unhealthy air blown down from over 400 wildfires in Canada has essentially blanketed the Northeast.
Smelling like burning wood, the smoke is expected to last several more days over NYC, with conditions deteriorating even more later today. New York has been estimated this morning to have the worst air quality for any major city in the world except Delhi, India according to the EPA.
Approximately 4,000 members strong, the WGA East has taken a strike team approach literally and figuratively since the Guild declared its first strike in 15 years to start on May 2 after talks with the studios and streamers for a new contract collapsed late on May 1. The WGA’s last contract expired at midnight on May 2.
Once the international butt of jokes for its smog and lousy air, LA today is a cool and cloudy but eminently breathable. To that, WGA West pickets are up at all the major studios and corporate HQs in and around the City of Angels.
We will update this post as decisions are made by the WGA and more details emerge from the EPA.