WGA East cancels all pickets in New York for the rest of the week due to record unhealthy air quality – Update

UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: With indoor and outdoor events, flights and more across the Northeast canceled due to apocalyptic weather, the Writers Guild of America East has also decided to end all picket lines for the remainder of the week.

The terrible air quality in New York is due to smoke blown across the border by hundreds of wildfires in Canada.

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So, less than a day after the close of Wednesday’s industrial actions to protect the health of their members, the WGA East took to social media this afternoon to call off any plans for a Thursday or Friday picket:

Conditions in New York and the tri-state area are actually expected to worsen Thursday morning before possibly improving over the weekend.

As one of many examples, tonight’s performance of hamilton went dark less than two hours before its 8 p.m. ET debut because so many cast members are sick.

With skies visibly thickening throughout the day, New York City’s air quality index hit a new high of 392 Wednesday afternoon local time. To put that into context, this later record shattered the “Hazardous” level record set hours earlier today. About 55 million people in the region are affected by the horrible air, which has placed NYC at or near the top of major cities with the worst air quality in the world.

As you can see here:

BEFORE, 10:55 a.m.: Stay on strike, but stay inside.

Thick smoke blanketing New York has halted efforts by the striking Writers Guild of America East to shut down shows and take to the streets with picket lines.

Now in its second month, the public actions of the scribes were canceled by the Guild leadership late last night:

Making the health of their members the top priority, WGA East leaders are currently considering how long they will keep pickets and rapid response teams off the streets, sources say. In the interest of safety, this TBD could mean WGA East withdrawing for the rest of the week, I was told.

The WGA East had planned a picket day in the Latin lounge and a picket day with your child on Thursday outside the Park Avenue South offices of Warner Bros. Discovery. Events unlikely to occur in the interest of safety if today’s conditions remain the same in and near the five boroughs.

With the National Weather Service issuing a red air quality alert this morning for the Big Apple and parts of the tri-state area, this is the worst air the city has seen in about 60 years. Hampering the region’s airports and urging people to stay indoors unless they absolutely have to go out with a mask, the unhealthy air blown by more than 400 wildfires in Canada has essentially blanketed the Northeast .

Smelling of scorched wood, the smoke is expected to linger for several more days in New York City, with conditions deteriorating further later in the day. New York was estimated this morning to have the worst air quality of any major city in the world except Delhi, India, according to the EPA.

With around 4,000 members, the WGA East has taken a literal and figurative strike team approach since the Guild declared its first strike in 15 years to begin May 2 after talks with studios and streamers for a new contract collapsed on May 1. WGA’s last contract expired at midnight on May 2.

Once the international butt of jokes for its smog and lousy air, LA is now a cool, cloudy but eminently breathable place. For this, WGA West pickets are in place at all major studios and corporate headquarters in and around the City of Angels.

We will update this post as decisions are made by the WGA and further details emerge from the EPA.

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