Union rally held in Los Angeles as part of the 2023 Writers' Strike

Source: Jim Ruymen / UPI / Shutterstock

Union rally held in Los Angeles as part of the 2023 Writers’ Strike

Newly re-elected SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher took aim at “greedy executives” as she addressed a large rally at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles on Wednesday, telling a crowd of striking actors that the work stoppage was hard but the right fight.

Drescher slammed the media conglomerates that own Paramount and other Hollywood studios and noted how they were increasingly aligning themselves more with Wall Street rather than artists and creators.

“What we need to actually is change the culture,” Drescher told a crowd of hundreds in the solidarity march, who cheered by a stage and screen that had been erected outside the studio. “We are going to make history.”

There were several speakers include the unions national executive director and chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, who returned from Toronto where had he taken part in a weekend rally outside the Canadian headquarters of Amazon and Apple and took part in an on-stage conversation as part of TIFF programming.

Crabtree-Ireland told the assembled masses that the work stoppage was not just about workers in entertainment but across all sectors, acknowledging the broader awareness of wealth inequality that has informed a summer of industrial action in California encompassing workers from the hospitality business to dockworkers and shuttle bus drivers at LAX airport.

The rally started outside the Netflix headquarters and made its way towards Paramount. SAG-AFTRA members have been on strike since July 14 without any official reconvening with AMPTP – the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers who represent the studios and streamers in the stalled contract talks.

There was a simultaneous joint SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America picket in New York. The writers have been on strike since May 2 and reengaged in talks last month, only for the meetings to break up amid leaks and mutual mistrust.

On Thursday SAG-AFTRA plans to hold a “What Doesn’t Kill Us Gives Us XP” picket at Netflix in solidarity with video game performers.

The union’s board has sent an interactive media strike authorisation to members ahead of September 26, when the union and signatory video game companies will resume their contract negotiations.