Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers staff get pay and benefits during writers strike : NPR

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Members of the Writers Guild of America union picket outside Netflix headquarters Wednesday near Union Square in New York.

Stefan Jeremiah/AP

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Stefan Jeremiah/AP

Members of the Writers Guild of America union picket outside Netflix headquarters Wednesday near Union Square in New York.

Stefan Jeremiah/AP

NBC late-night talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers are covering a week of pay for their non-writing staff during the Writers Guild of America strike, which has disrupted the -production for many shows and movies as Hollywood writers hit the picket lines this week.

Staff and crew for Fallon’s The Tonight Show and Meyers Late at night are receiving three weeks of pay — with the hosts of the evening show covering the third week themselves — and health care coverage through September, according to Sarah Kobos, a staff member at The Tonight Show, and a source close to the show.

Kobos told NPR that after the WGA strike was announced, there was a period of confusion and concern among staff about not writing about their livelihood for the duration.

She took to Twitter and called out her boss in a tweet: “He wasn’t even in the meeting this morning to tell us we won’t get paid after this week. @jimmyfallon please support your staff.”

A representative for Fallon did not respond to a request for comment.

Kobos told NPR, “It was just nerve wracking and then being told that we might not get paid last Friday. We couldn’t tell them if that meant we would be paid then. But they told us, you know, if the strike is still going on Monday, we can apply for unemployment.”

They were also told that their health insurance would only last for a month.

But on Wednesday, Kobos and other staff members received the good news. She shared it again on Twitter that Fallon got NBC to cover the wages for a little longer.

Kobos called the news “a huge relief.” But as her experience shows, there is still some serious uncertainty for many staff and crew working on Hollywood productions.

“It is very clear that these are difficult and uncertain times,” she said.

Kobos, who is a senior coordinator of photo research, is part of a crucial group of staff members on the show who are directly affected by the picket lines of their colleagues.

It is not clear how long this strike may last.

“It could end at any time, it could go on for a long time,” Kobos said. Entertainment industry experts previously told NPR that this year’s strike could be “a big one.” The last WGA strike in 2007 and 2008 lasted 100 days.

So far, this Hollywood writers’ strike is in its third day after contract negotiations with the studios collapsed on Monday.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers claims that the studios have made generous offers to the union.

While Kobos waits for news about the strike, she says she fully supports the writers and called it a “crucial fight.”

“When people fight to raise their standards in the workplace, it helps set the bar higher for everyone else as well,” she said. “So a win for writers here is a win for the rest of the industry and more broadly, the working class in general.”

Fernando Alfonso III contributed to this story.

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