Striking actors, writers face financial struggles; Picketers want SB-799 to pass

An actor in New York, Melanie Ehrlich came to Los Angeles seven years ago to try and land more acting jobs and she has. 

But after weeks on the picket line, the strike is having an impact on her. 

"This is going to be the first month since I got here that I don't know how I'm going to pay my rent," Ehrlich said.

Even food, gas and all of the things needed to get through the day also have an impact on her.


Ehrlich is outside of the Culver City studios with dozens of other strikers who were heard chanting, "799! 799!"

The chants are for State Senate Bill 799, which would provide workers who are on strike unemployment benefits.

As of now, the strikers do not get unemployement checks.

WGA members, like Kayla Westergard-Dobson, say they really need it. 

"I have medical bills that are in collection. I am visiting food banks in order to get groceries. I'm relying on financial help from family members. Can't go to the doctor, can't go to the dentist," Westergard-Dobson said. 

That's why to many here, SB799 is so important.

"I think people are desperate. I think they're really holding strong though. I see such solidarity. I see people willing to wait it out," said SAG-AFTRA secretary-treasurer Joely Fisher.

"I hope that everybody works to make the bill happen as soon as possible so it can help people now," said SAG-AFTRA Executive VP Ben Whitehair.

People like Ehrlich who, though vowing to fight on and making a stand for 799, is feeling the financial and emotional toll. 

"The emotional toll of this is, yeah, it's coming out my eyes," she said.