On the seventh day of the Writers Guild of America’s strike against Hollywood studios, guild leaders from both the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, including actors union president Fran Drescher, hit the picket lines at Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.
WGAW president Meredith Stiehm, speaking in front of the studio’s Melrose Avenue gates, said the guild has not heard from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers since contract talks broke apart the evening of May 1 — and she doesn’t expect to hear from them for a while.
“We’ll be here whenever they are available to talk about the real issues,” she said. “We didn’t feel like we had a real conversation last time around, so when they’re ready to actually get serious, we’ll be there.”
SAG-AFTRA’s Drescher and EVP Ben Whitehair joined writers in front of Paramount’s gates, where Drescher spoke about the importance of solidarity among the Hollywood unions, as well as what she expects from the upcoming AMPTP negotiations for her own, massive actors union, slated to begin June 7.
“[SAG-AFTRA’s] conversation is going to be very different, and I feel very hopeful that maybe we won’t get to this point,” said Drescher, as chanting writers passed on the busy sidewalk on Melrose Avenue.
Stiehm also noted the solidarity with fellow entertainment unions, thanking Drescher and the actors who have joined picked lines across the five days of demonstrations, as well as DGA, IATSE and Teamsters members who have shown support.
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“I think it’s because we’re all feeling starved out,” she said of the Hollywood unions. “We’re all feeling pushed to the margins, and gigged out, and we need to stop it. And that’s what the Writers Guild has been doing, and we’ve been getting a lot of support from the other unions.”