Los Angeles unions rallied on Friday evening in a show of support for the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike for the last four weeks.
The unions — representing hotel workers, teachers and state employees — shared the stage across from Crypto.com Arena in downtown L.A. with representatives from the Hollywood guilds.
“It’s going to be a hot labor summer,” said Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, executive director of SAG-AFTRA. “Your fight is our fight. Our fight is your fight. We are all in this together.”
SAG-AFTRA has called a strike authorization vote as it looks to gain leverage for its negotiations, which begin on June 7. The SAG-AFTRA contract expires on June 30.
Many actors and performers have also joined the writers in a show of support on the picket lines.
Meredith Stiehm, the president of WGA West, said the solidarity has “really buoyed us.”
“It could be a long summer,” she said in an interview. “People’s morale has been great. They’ve been out there and making it fun and funny and having good spirits about it. But it’s pretty serious business.”
The WGA strike began on May 2, a day after talks collapsed with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. The AMPTP is currently negotiating with the Directors Guild of America, which was not represented on stage at the rally.
Stiehm said there is no telling how long the strike could last.
“We’ll wait for the AMPTP to come talk to us,” she said. “We’re open every day. We’re available if the AMPTP wants to talk again. In the meantime, we’re striking. We’re demonstrating.”
Linsday Dougherty, the secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 399, was also on hand. Dougherty has become a star of the strike for her blunt rhetorical style. Addressing the crowd, she referred to the AMPTP as “the evil empire.”
“When we fight together, we win together,” she said. “For all the bad employers out there… If you want to fuck around, you’re gonna find out.”
Liz Shuler, the national president of the AFL-CIO, was also on stage, along with Yvonne Wheeler, the president of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, and Rusty Hicks, the chair of the California Democratic Party.
After the rally, the group of hundreds of union members marched a block up Figueroa Street.