Thousands gathered for a massive rally in downtown Los Angeles on Friday to support the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.
More than a dozen unions joined the writers in solidarity including the United Teachers of Los Angeles, the Service Employees International Union, Sag-Aftra and more. California Congressman Adam Schiff also made an appearance.
Attendees can be seen marching on streets while holding signs saying, “Unions Strike Back,” the theme of Friday’s gathering.
“This is the first time that we’re all together and that’s what we really needed,” said Kristen Thomas, who has been picketing with WGA for the last four weeks. “We needed to have support. We needed to know other people wanted to help out and stay connected. ‘United not divided’ as we say.”
Writers have been on strike since May 2, marking the fourth week of strikers seen picketing outside studios every day.
The Friday rally’s location near South Figueroa and West 12th Streets was chosen to coincide with an annual California Democratic Convention meeting across the street, organizers said.
“This is a real labor movement going on right now,” said Trip Hope with UTLA. “We want everybody who is working hard to make a decent living.”
“I believe this is a pivotal moment for the WGA and SAG and that those unions, those guilds could be totally broken up and a memory so that’s why I’m here,” said Walton Dornisch, a WGA member.
Marking the first WGA strike in more than 10 years, writers walked off the job in early May after talks between WGA and AMPTP came to a standstill.
WGA represents around 11,500 writers working in film, television and other entertainment.
Writers are pushing for better pay, mandatory staffing, an increase in streaming residuals, a ban on the use of AI, and more, saying that half of all writers are currently earning scale – the bare minimum of their contract. They also want higher contributions to their pension plan and health fund.
The strike has had a notable impact on programming, shutting down productions on television shows, film sets, late-night talk shows and more.
“I think our fight really impacts everyone,” said Olga Lexell, a WGA member. “A lot of workers are dealing with issues that we’re dealing with like AI coming for all of our jobs. So, there’s a natural affinity happening right now. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I’m here to show solidarity with the rest of the labor movement,” said Joaquin Miramontes, an SEIU member attending the rally. “We’re here to have our voices heard. A lot of union contracts are due this year and we’re here to let everybody know that we as union members are sticking together and we want fair contracts. We support the writers. We are with them in their fight and their struggle.”
Many attendees tell KTLA this was the first time they’ve witnessed multiple unions coming together in such a show of support. WGA writers will return to the picket lines on Monday but so far, it seems an agreement is far from being reached.