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The rally brought together SAG-AFTRA members, sister unions, and supporters in a show of unity and solidarity, highlighting what can be done to create a fair contract.
SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, Secretary-Treasurer Joely Fisher, VP Los Angeles Michelle Hurd, VP New York and New York Local President Ezra Knight, and Executive Director, New York Local, Labor Policy and International Affairs Rebecca Damon were joined in Times Square by members and sister unions to show solidarity, cheer on speakers and call for a fair contract for working actors.
Teamster trucks drove by, honking in support, while thousands of members of SAG-AFTRA, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Writers Guild of America, and other unions danced and cheered, holding their signs high. Among the SAG-AFTRA members in attendance were Jessica Chastain, Matt Bomer, Brendan Fraser, Ellen Burstyn, Rachel Zegler, Michael Shannon, Jane Curtin, Nancy Giles and Chloë Grace Moretz.
Actor Christine Baranski spoke up on behalf of her co-workers on The Good Wife and The Good Fight including castmates and background actors. “On both shows, I consider these actors my colleagues and part of our creative family. Their contribution to the series’ success was indispensable, and I am here today speaking on their behalf … We will not live under corporate feudalism. It is just simply time to make things right. Our contribution will not be undervalued, and we will not be robbed.”
Actor Bryan Cranston addressed Disney CEO Bob Iger directly, declaring, “We will not be having our jobs taken away and given to robots … We will not have you take away our right to work and earn a decent living. And lastly and most importantly, we will not allow you to take away our dignity!”
The rally also featured remarks from SAG-AFTRA members Tituss Burgess, Steve Buscemi, Liza Colón-Zayas, Jill Hennessy, Arian Moayed, Wendell Pierce, and Christian Slater. Members shared stories about themselves, their families and friends as working actors, living paycheck to paycheck. They expressed concerns about declining residuals and the studios’ unwillingness to let actors share in the streaming profits. Fears about studios using AI to reuse an actor’s image and likeness without their informed consent were echoed by all. The members urged the Alliance of Motion Pictures and Television Producers to make a fair deal that protects working actors’ rights.
Crabtree-Ireland laid out the core of the disagreement between SAG-AFTRA and the AMPTP, saying, “This strike is the result of big corporations that refuse to treat our members fairly. And it’s not okay, and we are standing up and we are saying no to that … This is a united membership who are standing together and are saying no to an unfair deal and are saying no to disrespect from these companies.”
Other union leaders, including Writers Guild of America East Executive Director Lowell Peterson, New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento and New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez, also spoke, emphasizing their support for SAG-AFTRA and all laborers in New York and America.