We know and love actress Lisa Ann Walter on the big and small screen, including the TV hit “Abbott Elementary.”
Over the past few months, she’s been hard at work in the room where it all happens. She was a member of SAG-AFTRA’s negotiating committee during the 118-day strike.
On Wednesday evening the union announced that it had finally come to a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Walter told Sam Rubin on the KTLA 5 Morning News that she’s “very satisfied” with what the committee has accomplished.
“I think that our membership will be really pleased with the results. I think they’ll be proud of what we’ve accomplished,” she said.
When it came to the nearly four-month-long strike, Walter said it was “just too long.”
“This was stuff that could have gotten done, sort of, at the beginning. I think that’s where a lot of the frustration lies that it seemed like there were feet dragging. But you know, we’re here now and I cannot wait to get back to work.”
The actress said she ran into “Abbott Elementary” creator and star Quinta Brunson recently and the two were “chomping at the bit” to get back to the set.
When it came to negotiations, many mentioned AMPTP president Carol Lombardini’s approach to being “brusque” at the bargaining table.
Walter didn’t see it that way.
“I am loath to chastise any woman for being, what she thinks, is effective and good at her job. Her job is to get the best deal for the studios as she can and she certainly does that. There are personalities that are used to being treated a little more gently, I’m not one of them,” she laughed. “I don’t care about her being brusque. I don’t care about her being short, the only thing that I worried about was that there were things, from the reports, that the CEOs who were meeting with a smaller member of our negotiating committee, were ready to sign off on and then she would kind of dial it back and kind of be like, ‘No, wait a minute. I don’t know if we can do that.'”
The actress said Lombardini did this on matters that were important like Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“I was worried that in her wanting to make it look like she got the best deals possible for the studios, it was keeping us from getting back in the kind of timeframe that they were hoping to because they want to get on with their movie making for next summer,” she explained.
“The Parent Trap” actress also wanted to make another point clear. There was no timeline.
“Nobody said to us, ‘You have until X to make this deal and you better do it.’ And had there been it wouldn’t have happened.”
Walter also praised SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher for her work on this long work stoppage.
“She listened to every single thought from the room,” she explained.
She also credited “The Nanny” actress for just trying to get union members to receive a living wage.
“For every new technology that has come along, when VHS turned to DVD turned to cable and now streaming, we have been told, ‘Just wait, when this makes money, we’ll cut you in, you’ll get a real residual’ and it has never happened, ever. So we’re like, ‘Okay, we helped you build it. We did sweat equity for you to build your new businesses, but we can’t survive.’ So she walked in with the attitude of ‘I’m just here to get a living wage for my people and the crisis management people were trying to make her look like she was not any woman who has survived, any person who has survived what Fran has survived in this world.”
While the end of the strike is a cause for celebration, Walter did note that actors didn’t get everything they wanted.
One set of provisions, she called “The Respect Package,” touched on rest periods for background actors and guaranteeing hair services for those with textured hair.
“We’re either going to get to it next time with the Crown Act going to be passed because all this stuff is important,” she revealed.
The agreement now heads to the national board and to union members for it to be ratified.
Walter said she’s seen on social media that many members are already pleased with the result.
“Of course, not everybody will be entirely pleased. I think that it will be ratified. That is my supposition,” she told Sam.
If all goes according to plan, Walter expects she’ll return to the “Abbott Elementary” set within weeks.