Dispatches From The Picket Lines: Transportation Workers Rally With Striking Actors At NBCU In Manhattan

This is Day 83 of the SAG-AFTRA strike

The language was salty but the mood was upbeat at a union rally in Midtown Manhattan by striking actors and their supporters from the 150,000-member Transportation Workers Union.

More from Deadline

With talks between the actors union and the production studios paused until Wednesday, the crowd at SAG-AFTRA’s solidarity picket with the TWU filled two lanes of the street outside NBCUniversal headquarters and made a sometimes NSFW din that could be heard for blocks.

Oscar-winning actor F. Murray Abraham, one of the rally speakers, dropped an F-bomb in remarks calling for all working Americans to receive a livable wage and health care. “And since our corrupt Congress won’t give that to us, we got a f*ckin’ union,” he said to cheers.

But it was TWU chief John Samuelson who really let fly, railing at “p*ick bosses” in a pugilistic speech that compared contract negotiations to fist fighting.

“And this is how you win a fight,” Samuelson said. “You keep throwing punches viciously, relentlessly, endlessly until you land one that decks the boss. That’s how you do it.”

SAG-AFTRA leaders in New York called off their usual daily pickets at three other locations to boost turnout at a rally that was attended by actors, writers, stagehands and rank-and-file TWU members — a workforce ranging from flight attendants and bus drivers to New York’s Citi Bike ride-share maintenance crews.

With the writers strike over and the actors strike in its 83rd day, SAG-AFTRA’s New York local executive director, Rebecca Damon, told the crowd, “I would much rather our staff was visiting you on a film set.” But the strike would continue, Damon said, “until we have the deal — a deal that SAG-AFTRA members deserve.”

On the podium with Damon were actors including Stephen Lang, Jill Hennessy, Megan Boone, Kathleen Chalfant and Bill Irwin. Lang took a turn at the microphone and welcomed “all you makers of good trouble,” a phrase popularized by the late Georgia congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. He also congratulated the Writers Guild for its “great success” in winning a contract after 148 days on strike.

“Well done, scribes,” Lang said, adding, “It’s our turn at the table now, and we want to get back to work.”

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.