Boston University’s upcoming graduation ceremony on May 21, 2023, has become a topic of controversy as the Writers Guild of America (WGA) has announced that its members will picket the event. The reason for the picket is the presence of Warner Bros. Discovery President & CEO David Zaslav, an alumnus of the school, who is scheduled to make the commencement address. While the guild had warned the school of the picket, BU officials decided to allow Zaslav to speak anyway.
The WGA’s decision to picket the event was announced on Thursday, May 11, 2023. The picket will take place at Nickerson Field, where the All-Student Commencement Exercises will be held, and will begin at 12:00 p.m. EDT.
Reason for the Picket
The WGA launched its first strike in 15 years on May 2, 2023, after negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) failed to reach a new agreement. The talks broke off because the AMPTP was unwilling to discuss many of the WGA’s core issues, including significant increases in compensation, minimum staffing, duration of employment, the establishment of viewer-based streaming residuals, and the use of artificial intelligence to create scripts.
The AMPTP’s Response
The AMPTP has stated that its contract offer was “generous” and that it remains “committed to finding workable solutions to our ever-changing business for the mutual benefit of those who contribute to its success.” However, the WGA remains unmoved and continues to picket various events and locations in Hollywood.
The WGA’s decision to picket Boston University’s graduation ceremony is another example of the guild’s determination to achieve its goals. As the strike continues, it remains to be seen how the industry will be affected and what kind of compromises both sides will eventually make. In the meantime, Boston University students will have to cross the picket line if they want to attend their graduation ceremony and hear David Zaslav’s commencement address.
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