April 16, 2024

Using fiery language like “solidarity is the solution to corporate greed” and “if we don’t get what we want, we will shut it f–king down day one,” union leaders on Sunday held what was dubbed a “unity rally” to rev up workers before joint negotiations begin Monday between IATSE and Teamsters Local 399 with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.

Hundreds of workers from all facets of the below-the-line community, from electrical workers and plasterers to editors, costumers and script supervisors packed a park just west of the 405 in Encino, CA. to gear up for what they hope will be a successful negotiation period with the studios.

To return the favor since so many below-the-line workers joined actors and writers on the picket line last summer, members of SAG and WGA were front and center to hear the speeches and yell “many crafts one fight” along with everybody else.

“Isn’t it great to have a rally without a strike?” asked Lindsay Dougherty, chief negotiator for Teamsters Local 399, while looking out over a parking lot workers — most of whom wore black and sported shirts that read “pay equity now” and “nothing moves without the crew.”

“This is what solidarity looks like,” Dougherty continued. “As everybody knows, Teamsters aren’t afraid of a fight and IATSE isn’t either. And although WGA and SAG-AFTRA had to strike last year to get what they needed, I’m here to tell the AMPTP — and they know and that’s why they fear us the most — that with IATSE and Teamsters teamsters together, if we don’t get what we want, we will shut it down f–king day one.”

SAG-AFTRA’s Chief negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland attended the rally to issue a word of warning about the upcoming talks.

“The studios and streamers are likely going to use the same tired playbook that they used with us last year and with the Writers Guild,” he began. “There’ll be a public disinformation campaign aimed at sowing discord amongst all of you and us. There will be messaging around how your jobs will be replaced with technology. They’ll say the lack of work and the extinction of pilot season is the union’s fault. But we all know the truth. The employers are the ones who are chasing quarterly numbers instead of pursuing a sustainable business model.”

Some of the toughest language on Sunday came from Teamsters General President Sean O’Brien, who referred to the studios as “white-collar crime syndicates.”

“It’s time, brothers and sisters, to make them aware that if they thought they had a fight last summer, they … can’t even predict what’s going to happen to them,” he said. “I was never so proud to see the courage and conviction of supporting our brothers and sisters at both respective unions. Because the one thing that is predictable with these companies is …. they’re not that bright. You think they would have learned last year when they took on two strong unions. Those unions like the rest of us, we don’t have the deep pockets. We don’t have the financing but we’ve got intestinal fortitude. We got courage and conviction to take on the fight. And I think we all agree that we’re desperate and being desperate is great. Being desperate means that we don’t care about consequences for our actions. We don’t care about public relations. What we care about is making certain that our members … who make these white collar crime syndicates the success they are … it’s not about what they’re going to give us. It’s about what we’re going to demand and take moving forward. Are you ready to fight?”

IATSE Boss Matthew Loeb wrapped up the rally by saying “we are the antidote to the greed that’s been laid upon us.”

“This is our family. Look around at somebody you don’t know and tell them you’ve got their back. ‘Cuz that’s what it’s going to take, folks,” he said. “This is a crystal clear message that every union in the entertainment industry’s standing here together. And that has never happened before but I suspect it will continue to happen into the future as we build strength and solidarity.”

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