An Extra Something
The people making the most noise about the actors’ strike are saying it’s not for the super-rich stars, but for the “extras” and “environmental people” who populate movies and TV.
The problem is that these people don’t supply talent, just presence. They stand around or pretend to chat or are soldiers or in the audience at an event. Anyone can do that. These people choose to do that (inevitably hoping they are “discovered” and become a “star”). Since there no special talent demands here, except joining a union, which isn’t a “talent,” then supply and demand prevail. Anyone can do it, a lot of people want to do it, so why pay more?
The pay of the executives is another issue entirely, and that IS obscene.
It is tiresome and boring work to be an “extra,” but people do it voluntarily. Don’t kid yourself: This strike is about the already successful and wealthy actors wanting more of the residual pie, and the successful writers wanting less competition, especially cheaper (and more talented) competition. Most of the stuff written for broadcast television, for example, is truly dreadful.