1 of 5 | A multi-union rally in support of striking Writers Guild of America members drew thousands to downtown Los Angeles Friday as the strike wrapped its fourth week. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
May 27 (UPI) -- A rally staged by several unions drew thousands to downtown Los Angeles on Friday in support of members of the Writers Guild of America, who are striking for better contracts.
The United Teachers of Los Angeles, the Service Employees International Union, the Screen Actors Guild and the Teamsters were among more than a dozen unions that showed up to display their solidarity for the striking Writers Guild of America, whose work stoppage has entered its fourth week.
"This is the first time that we're all together and that's what we really needed," union supporter Kristen Thomas told KTLA-TV. "We needed to have support. We needed to know other people wanted to help out and stay connected. 'United not divided,' as we say."
In addition to the ongoing strike by writers, members of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are also nearing the end of their contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, and its leaders have called for a strike authorization vote.
The WGA has called for higher residual pay for streaming programs that have larger viewership, rather than the existing model that pays a standard rate regardless of a show's success. They're also asking for regulations preventing the use of artificial intelligence technology to write or rewrite any literary material.
Union members "must stay out there in big numbers" because "this is negotiating -- being disruptive by picketing and leafletting and demonstrating in public, in combination with withholding of labor, is action," WGA negotiating committee member Danielle Sanchez-Witzel told City News Service. "And we are now a significant part of a National and Global Labor Movement."
Most late night talk shows and Saturday Night Live have been forced to air reruns as their staff members are out on strike, and Marvel Studios' upcoming Thunderbolts film has paused production due to the stoppage, Variety reported.
Some analysts predict the current strike could last longer than the previous 100-day strike which ran from November 2007 to February 2008.