The Writers Union of America West received the strongest support from its sister unions in Los Angeles at the “Unions Strike Back” rally on Friday night.
Standing in solidarity with WGAw President Meredith Stiehm were Hollywood Teamsters Local 399 Secretary-Treasurer and Chief Negotiator Lindsay Dougherty; SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland; UTLA President Cecily Myart-Cruz; Kurt Petersen, Co-Chairman of UNITE HERE Local 11; and the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the California Federation of Labor AFL-CIO, Lorena González, among others.
In front of hundreds of union workers, Stiehm delivered an impassioned speech as the WGA closed out its 24th day of strike action against the AMPTP, which has yet to agree to a negotiating table.
“We are here because we are a union, like everyone else here, and we are on strike. This is the 24th. We have been on the picket lines fighting for a fair contract. But we have not walked alone,” Stiehm said as four new helicopters flew over the platform. “We have seen you on the line, SAG-AFTRA. We have seen you IATSE. We’ve seen you, Teamsters. The trucks are approaching our picket lines, and they are turning around, and they are shutting down production every day.”
Stiehm spoke of the solidarity between sister unions, many of which have joined her and the WGA in picketing the various Los Angeles studios daily. She showed her gratitude to IATSE and the truckers who have not crossed the picket lines at the studios or in front of movies and television shows currently being produced across the United States.
“Something is happening out there. Something new. Work is increasing. We count on your support because other unions and other workers see your fight in our fight. We also feel marginalized, blackmailed, and pressured to do as much work as possible for as little pay as possible, and that’s not okay. Is not human. It is not moral. Bosses, management and corporations must share in the wealth we help create. They need to share it properly and fairly, and until they do, we’ll hold the line,” he said.
I don’t think the studios have seen this blue wave coming, writers. I think they misjudged our power, the backing we have from working people in Hollywood and Los Angeles. And by the way, when it’s your turn, we’ll be there with you. I don’t think the bosses knew what they were up against when they didn’t listen to us 24 days ago. But they should look around. You should look at this crowd and this unity and if you didn’t know, well now you do. Union now. Union forever, ”he concluded.
Crabtree-Ireland followed, with an impassioned speech of his own, pledging that SAG-AFTRA members will continue to picket the WGA for as long as necessary.
“Your fight is our fight. Our fight is your fight. We are all in this together. Every worker has the right to a fair wage and fair treatment from his employer. The actors are hard workers, like everyone else here, and find it impossible to maintain a sustainable living doing a job they love,” he said. “Yet the giant media companies that own the studios and streaming platforms report billions of dollars in revenue and pay their CEOs millions of dollars, while cast and crew struggle to make ends meet. life decently.”
He also reminded the crowd that SAG-AFTRA is currently holding its own strike authorization vote ahead of its negotiations with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers, which will begin on June 7. The current guild contract expires on June 30.
“While corporate greed has put the middle-class lifestyle out of reach for many, we have this incredible tool to help us fight for a more equitable future,” he continued. “And that is unity. They may have the money, but we have the numbers. Just look around. We have the numbers. We count on the people who fuel the profits of these companies and we are united for a better future. This is the power of unions.”
The crowd went wild as team boss Dougherty took the microphone and began chanting “When I say union, you say city…”.
“We are going to stand in solidarity… for every fight we have with those employers because when we fight together, we win together. When we fight, we win.”
He added: “We are ready to take a commercial break with them. If they provoke us, we will attack.”
More videos of the rally can be found below.
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