The Labor Movement coordinated a national Day of Action on August 22nd to support the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in their strike against the major television and movie studios. Rallies took place in five major American cities (Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago), with MTD’s Port Maritime Councils present at three of the events.
The Delaware Valley PMC took to the streets in Philadelphia, the New York-New Jersey PMC represented the MTD in the Big Apple, and the Western Lakes and Michigan PMCs joined with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond in Chicago. In addition to the Port Councils, MTD affiliates of all stripes could be found on the line in all five cities. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler was present at the Atlanta rally.
While the SAG-AFTRA and WGA disputes are separate strikes, the two unions’ concerns about the entertainment industry are largely aligned. In addition to the plain greed of the studio executives, the unions object to meager residuals from streaming services and artificial intelligence usurping their likenesses. To make matters worse, the studios have repeatedly stalled negotiations.
Labor has vociferously defended both unions throughout the duration of the strikes, with representatives from many unions standing on the picket lines in New York and Los Angeles. The AFL-CIO Executive Board received an extensive briefing on the strikes at their last gathering earlier this summer; the Board also posed for a group picture with strike support signs in solidarity with the actors and writers hitting the bricks.