SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher Joins WGA Picket Line – Variety

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher delivered a sobering message to major Hollywood studios as she joined a WGA picket line outside Paramount Pictures on Monday afternoon.

“They feel like this strike is a strike for everyone in the industry,” Drescher said of SAG-AFTRA members and WGA industrial action.

Drescher, who was elected president of SAG-AFTRA in September 2021, walked arm-in-arm with Writers Guild of America West president Meredith Stiehm in a show of solidarity, joining a coalition of a few hundred members of each guild who were picketing Paramount beginning at 9 a.m. PT at the start of the second week of the WGA strike.

“It’s important that we support our sister unions in the entertainment industry,” Drescher said. Variety, pointing out that she is both a union leader, in her role as president of SAG-AFTRA, as well as a member of the WGA. “We have to be in solidarity with them. This is the only way for the workforce to effectively defend itself and be recognized for our needs,” Drescher said.

As evidenced by the strong turnout of SAG-AFTRA members on the WGA picket lines since the strike began on May 2, there is a real kinship between the guilds. Drescher described the mood of his group of members as “very supportive” of the strike effort. SAG-AFTRA will begin its own contract negotiations with the Alliance of Film and Television Producers on June 7.

The WGA work stoppage “forces the AMPTP to realize that there are needs that need to be recognized and contributors to the entertainment industry that need to be honored,” Drescher said. “I hope that between now and June 7, we will continue to plan our negotiations very methodically and strategically. God willing, we won’t come to that. Each union has different demands and needs. And while we support each of them, every negotiation is different.

Drescher hasn’t been too specific about what she expects from her union’s negotiations. Broadly, Drescher said SAG-AFTRA’s primary goal was “to restructure the contract to stay true to the current business model.”

(Photo: Fran Drescher, President of SAG-AFTRA, and Meredith Stiehm, President of WGA West, in front of Paramount Pictures)

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