SAG-AFTRA, WGA hold Day of Solidarity Rally

Several hundred members of SAG-AFTRA, the WGA and other union members, were joined by their supporters as the mass gathered in Chicago’s Grant Park on Tuesday to demonstrate steadfast support for the ongoing joint strike, which has now entered its second month.

Joining a movement being held in LA, New York, Atlanta, as well as other cities, members from the local chapter of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Radio and Television Artists passionately chanted slogans like “Hot labor summer!” and “Labor united cannot be defeated!” near the iconic Buckingham Fountain.

The rally featured speeches from local union leaders and received endorsements from prominent political figures, including U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Illinois state Sen. Lakesia Collins, and Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd).

Newly elected SAG-AFTRA Chicago local president Charles Gardner addressed the crowd during the rally, stating, “This is a labor revolution. And those aren’t just my words — the media is catching it, and they’re calling it a labor revolution. How powerful is that?”

SAG-AFTRA has been engaged in a strike since July 13, uniting with the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in a historic joint strike, the first of its kind in more than six decades. While negotiations continue between the WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), a comprehensive agreement has yet to be reached.

The striking actors are advocating for improved wages, revenue sharing, and safeguards against the potential use of artificial intelligence to replace human performers. In a press release by the Chicago Federation of Labor, the demands of the actors are outlined, showcasing their determination to secure fair compensation and protect their roles in the evolving entertainment landscape.

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond lent his support yesterday as well. Redmond ralled the crowd as he said, “A rising tide lifts all boats. This is our fight and it’s time for AMPTP to get the message.”


Anthony Fleming III, a SAG-AFTRA member known for his role as JP Gibbs in Power Book IV: Force on Starz, expressed the significance of their fight, stating, “We have to continue to fight for the things that we want, for the things that we deem to be fair and just. We are fighting for integrity, for our respect and to be honored for our vast and immensely important contributions in our professions.”

The public strongly supports striking entertainment industry workers and their fight for fair contracts, according to the results released today from a nationwide poll conducted by Data for Progress. More than two-thirds said they support the strikes by SAG-AFTRA and the WGA, with only 18% opposed.

Remarkably, even among those who view labor unions negatively, nearly half support the strikes, with just 37% opposed.

The results are even more dramatic when respondents are asked to weigh in on the individual issues over which the unions are striking, with between 72% and 87% agreeing on the unions’ stance over compensation, limits to AI use and other issues.

“The data shows that most people understand why the union was forced to go on strike. I suspect many are seeing the same dynamic playing out in their own lives, with employers undervaluing their contributions,” said SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director and Chief Negotiator Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. “That’s why this fight is so important. Our demands aren’t unreasonable, and it’s a fundamental principle of fairness that workers should be fairly compensated for the value they bring their employer — in every industry.” 

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