WGA Strike Meetings: New York Crowd Told “Entire Labor Movement Is Behind Us”

Check back for updates… But 235355219/">the second day In the Writers Guild of America’s first strike in 15 years, the Guild is holding large meetings on both coasts with members to discuss how they got here, what’s going on and what’s next.

Picket lines were first broken on Wednesday wga met at The Great Hall at Cooper Union in East NYC and the WGA plans to meet at the Shrine Auditorium in West Los Angeles. The former meeting was set to begin at 6 p.m. ET, while the latter meeting was set for 7 p.m. PT. The Great Hall has a capacity of approximately 1,000, and the Shrine, a former Oscar venue, can seat approximately 6,000 people.

Although it took a little longer than expected for the Great Hall meeting to begin, the crowd was clearly fired up, according to sources at the venue. There was huge applause from WGA members as solidarity with other unions and unions like the IATSE. A WGA leader told the crowd, “The entire labor movement is behind us.” “The White House is behind us.”

People picketing outside the WGA meeting in Manhattan

Deadline spoke to a few people at the Manhattan site.

Shortly after joining the WGA, John Mahon got his first glimpse of the world he wishes all comedic television writers would be able to live and work like: He was on set, with the production in front of him. Connected, as he wrote.

“It really informs you as a writer to have that kind of on-set experience,” Mahone said Wednesday evening with other striking WGA writers through Manhattan for a meeting of union members at Cooper Union College. Said after marching. “Because you can see the limits; You can see how your ideas really come to life. It’s easy to come up with all these ideas when you’re in a room, writing on paper, but to actually see them being executed and being on set – it’s an invaluable experience.

The loss of that experience for other, younger writers is one of the reasons Mahone wrote for our flag means death And girls5eva, said he joined the picket line this week. He added that access to the productions “has become a major obstacle for us.”

“It used to be that you got paid to cover your episodes on set,” he said. “But those days have been over for a few years now.”

Picket near the WGA meeting place in New York City

Sean Piccoli

Among those heading to Wednesday’s meeting of union members in Manhattan was Alex Zaragoza, who joined the WGA as a writer for news and culture outlet Vice and took her membership in a career change writing for television. When the guild voted to strike, “I just finished working on a show that hasn’t gone to series yet,” Zaragoza said as she handed her strike sign to a union representative and walked inside the Foundation building. Other writers agreed to join. The Hall, also known as the Great Hall at Cooper Union College, is a members-only meeting closed to the press.

“I just wrapped a month ago, another show that I worked on,” Zaragoza said, “and so I really just sat and waited — literally sat and waited to see this.” whether I’m going to be able to work and try. To plan what I’m going to do if I can’t work in my current field, my current profession, television. What am I going to do to earn money?”

Zaragoza described her experience with the WGA in Vice, where she was a union representative on the bargaining committee, as transformative.

“It was the first time I had a union job,” she said, “and it made me feel like I wasn’t lost, the feeling that you were actually part of a unit fighting for the collective.” dealing with a bad manager, making sure my fellow employees were getting proper severance to layoffs – I mean a lot of things.

She agreed that the WGA is now asking too many of its members, but said, “Here’s the thing: We voted for it. And we overwhelmingly voted yes because we know the importance of it. is asking a lot but asking what we need: we need to fight. … Almost 100 percent of our membership was ready to picket the streets to get those checks dropped. Because we know for the collective good , great good, for our real future, this is what is needed. So as hard as it is, it needs to be done.”

More than a month after negotiations began on a new three-contract between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, everything ended late on May 1 with only a few hours left to go into the existing contract. in spite of a approximately 98% strike authorization vote mandate Told by WGA members to guild leaders in April, the studios either didn’t take the prospect of labor action seriously or didn’t really care. Far between the two sides on money, transparency, job security and even what should be the role of writers in the ever-changing industry, the WGA leadership declared strike Starting in the morning of 2nd May.

The last time the WGA went on strike in 2007–2008, labor action lasted 100 days.