On the seventh day of the Writers Guild of America strike against Hollywood studios, union leaders from both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, including Actors Guild President Fran Drescher, hit picket lines at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.
Speaking outside the studio’s Melrose Avenue gates, Meredith Steam, WGAW president, said the union hasn’t heard from the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance since contract talks broke up on the evening of May 1 — and she doesn’t expect to hear any. them for a while.
“We’ll be here whenever they are to talk about the real issues,” she said. “We didn’t feel like we had a real conversation last time, so when they’re really ready to get serious, we’ll be there.”
Writers were joined by SAG-AFTRA’s Drescher and EVP Ben Whitehair at the Paramount gates, where Drescher spoke about the importance of solidarity among Hollywood unions, as well as what she can expect from the upcoming AMPTP negotiations for her massive actors’ union, scheduled to begin June 7.
“[SAG-AFTRA’s] “The conversation is going to be very different, and I feel very hopeful that we probably won’t get to that point,” said Drescher, as the writers cheered as they passed the crowded sidewalk on Melrose Avenue.
Stiehm also indicated solidarity with fellow entertainment unions, thanking Drescher and the actors who joined select lines over the five days of demonstrations, as well as the DGA, IATSE and Teamsters members who showed support.
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“I think it’s because we’re all hungry,” she said of Hollywood syndicates. “We all feel pushed to the sidelines, defeated, and we have to stop that. That’s what the Writers Guild has been doing, and we’ve had a lot of support from other unions.”
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