SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher To Picket Studios Friday On First Day Of Actors Strike

Business

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher will be on the picket lines Friday on the first day of the guild’s strike against the film and television industry. She’ll be joined by Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the guild’s national executive director and chief negotiator, and members of the guild’s negotiating committee.

Drescher and her team will be picketing outside Netflix’s offices in Los Angeles in the morning from 9-9:40, followed by picketing outside the gates of Paramount Studios from 10-10:40 and then over to Warner Bros. in Burbank from 11:10-11:45 and Disney from noon to 12:45. The times are approximate.

Earlier today, Drescher gave a fiery and impassioned speech while announcing that the guild’s national board had voted unanimously to launch the strike, which begins tonight at midnight PT. Calling the companies’ bargaining positions “insulting,” “tone deaf” and “crazy,” she said that she had gone into the negotiations “in earnest thinking that we would be able to avert a strike.” That soon changed, however,

“And so it comes with great sadness that we come to this crossroads, but we had no choice” but to strike, she said. “We are the victims here. We are being victimized by a very greedy entity. I am shocked by the way the people that we have been in business with are treating us. I cannot believe it, quite frankly, how far apart we are on so many things. How they plead poverty that they are losing money when they give hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs. 

“It is disgusting. Shame on them. They stand on the wrong side of history at this very moment. We stand in solidarity in unprecedented unity. Our union, and our sister unions, and the unions around the world are standing by us, as well as with other unions, because at some point, the jig is up. You cannot keep being dwindled and marginalized and disrespected and dishonored.”

Calling for sweeping contract changes that reflect the business changes sweeping Hollywood, she said that “The entire business model has been changed by streaming, digital and AI. This is a moment in history that is a moment of truth. If we don’t stand tall right now, we are all going to be in trouble. We are all going to be in jeopardy of being replaced by machines. And big business, who cares more about Wall Street than you and your family.

“Most Americans don’t have more than $500 in an emergency. This is a very big deal that weighed heavy on us. But at some point, you have to say, ‘No. We’re not going to take this anymore. You people are crazy. Why are you doing this?’ Privately, they all say ‘We’re the center of the wheel. Everybody else tinkers around our industry.’ But actions speak louder than words. But there was nothing there. It was insulting.

“So we came together in strength and solidarity and unity with the largest strike authorization vote in our union’s history. And we made the hard decision that we tell you today, this is major. It’s really serious, and it’s going to impact every single person that is in labor.

“We are fortunate enough right now to be in a country that’s labor-friendly, and yet, we were facing opposition that was so labor unfriendly, so tone deaf to what we are saying.  You cannot change the business model as much as it has changed and not expect the contract to change too.

“We’re not going to keep doing incremental change on a contract that no longer honors what is happening right now with this business model that was foisted upon us. What are we doing? Moving furniture around on the Titanic? It’s crazy. So the jig is up, AMPTP. We stand tall. You have to wake up and smell the coffee. We are labor and we stand tall and demand respect and to be honored for our contribution. You share the wealth because you cannot exist without us.”

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