Following Zelina Vega's release from WWE, she immediately took to Twitter and tweeted out "I support unionization." WWE's Twitter account followed up 10 minutes later by informing the world that she had been released. However, we're told that Vega was indeed released before she sent the unionization tweet. Even so, her comment gives us a glimpse into the dispute that ultimately lead to her split with the company.
Vega (Thea Trinidad) has been a successful streamer on Twitch and even recently started an Only Fans page for her cosplay costumes. Recently, WWE changed their policy as it relates to talent's ability to profit on third party platforms like Twitch and Cameo. No longer are talent able to do that without WWE getting a cut of the profits. It also looks like WWE could be launching their own Twitch channel soon and they want to be in charge of their talent's presence there.
WWE's new policy has caused criticism given talent's classification as "independent contractors" rather than employees. Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has even spoken out on the issue, noting his belief that WWE's classification of their employees is misguided and unfair, and he hopes to be able to help remedy the situation in the upcoming Biden Administration. The argument is that if you aren't classifying the talent as employees, you shouldn't have this much control over their outside activities.
There have been some attempts in the past to start a wrestling union, notably by Jesse Venture in the 1980s. However, nothing has comes to fruition as of yet. Vega's tweet called back to this idea, with the point being that talent would still have the ability to profit off of their Twitch channels if they were unionized.
Not long after Vega's tweet, the president of the SAG-AFTRA (The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) Gabrielle Carteris reached out to Vega. She wrote, "Hey @Zelina_VegaWWE Thanks for standing strong for labor solidarity. I support you. Please email me PresidentCarteris@sagaftra.org." The official Twitter page of the SAG-AFTRA also responded to Vega's unionization tweet with the words, "So do we."
So do we. https://t.co/kgTIrv0jdl— SAG-AFTRA (@sagaftra) November 14, 2020
There has been speculation in the past that if wrestlers were to unionize, the SAG would make sense for them. Vega actually noted at one point during her Twitch stream last night that she may be able to qualify for the SAG due to her role in Fighting With My Family.