WGA Holds Solidarity Rally With Teamsters and Other Hollywood Unions: We All Feel Pumped, United

The Writers Guild of America West held a rally Wednesday night to demonstrate solidarity with the other Hollywood unions in their collective contract battles against Hollywood’s major employers.

About 1,800 guild members attended the meeting at the Shrine Auditorium, and heard from WGA leaders about the reasons behind the two-day old strike. One of the stars of the show, however, was Lindsay Dougherty, the 39-year-old leader of Teamsters Local 399.

“We’re all sticking together,” Dougherty told Variety outside the event. “We have an opportunity to change things in this industry, and the only way we’re going to do that is if we’re together.”

The Teamsters have a contract in place through July 31, 2024, and so cannot join the strike. But under their contract, Teamsters cannot be disciplined for refusing to cross established picket lines.

“Every single truck that we know of has not crossed,” she said. It’s not yet clear whether that has affected any productions in L.A., however. Dougherty said that production had already slowed considerably even well before the strike.

“It’s predetermined by the studios to do that to starve all of our memberships out of work at this time,” she said. “I believe the studios never had any intention of making a deal in the first place.”

According to attendees, Dougherty — who has a tattoo of Jimmy Hoffa’s face on her left bicep — got a huge round of applause.

“I imagine at least half the audience is probably trying to figure out how to pitch their next show with her as the star,” said Stephen Hootstein, a TV writer.

Jon Avnet, the negotiations chair for the Directors Guild of America, also addressed the crowd, as did Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, national executive director of SAG-AFTRA. Hootstein said it was heartening to see the support from the other guilds, saying it gave off a different vibe than he felt during the 2007-08 strike.

“Sixteen years ago there was a lot of ‘you idiot writers,’” he said. “Even six years ago, when we were on the precipice, there was that same type of energy. I’m not hearing that kind of energy at all.”

The DGA begins negotiations next week on its contract, and SAG-AFTRA starts next month. Both of their contracts expire on June 30.

“Everyone has slightly different issues, but certainly on the core of residuals and sharing in the success of successful shows that reach audiences, that is a common problem that they are addressing,” Hootstein said. “I think there’s some real unity on that front.”

Several writers said they felt united, after seeing so many people going through the same experience together. Many attendees left the Shrine Wednesday night toting Wolfgang Puck-brand packaged charcuterie spreads.

“It’s been scary, but it’s been also really reaffirming,” said Darcy Fowler, a TV writer. “I’ve never been in a room with so many people in this industry with one drive, one goal… We all feel pumped, united and just so supported.”

The WGA East held a similar membership meeting at Cooper Union in New York.

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article