Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda hit the picket line with their “Grace and Frankie” costars outside Netflix on Thursday, standing in unity with fellow SAG-AFTRA members and emphasizing the importance of continued demonstrations against the AMPTP.
Tomlin said that the writers’ and actors’ double strike isn’t just for Hollywood creatives. It’s instead a moment that will impact laborers’ unionization efforts across the country and across industries.
“It’s really for all laborers that it’s not part of our complete U.S. policy,” Tomlin said, speaking with press at a stopping point in the picket. “We used to be a caring nation. Even those that pretended gave lip service to that. But no more.”
June Diane Raphael, who played Brianna on the Netflix series, said SAG-AFTRA won’t let up until actors receive what they deem is a fair contract.
“We’re not going to stop until we get a fair deal, that’s why we’re here,” she said.
Fonda went into detail about big businesses, the purpose of unions and the importance of workers coming together to make change in their respective industries.
“Income and inequality has never been greater since the Guilded Age in the ’20s, and that’s why unions are so important,” Fonda said. “That’s why there is a real rise in strikes and unionization in all different sectors.”
Outside of Hollywood, blue collar workers are staging their own strikes. On Thursday, for instance, The Washington Post reported that some 340,000 UPS employees were moving closer and closer to striking over issues related to pay and benefits for part-time workers who make up the majority of UPS’ staff. And in Pontiac, Michigan, Amazon workers picketed over low wages and poor working conditions.
“What we’re fighting for here, it’s what Lily said. It’s really for all the workers in all the sectors,” Fonda said. “We have to stand together and we have to make unions stronger.”
Comedian and actor Paul Scheer, who’s married to Raphael, chimed in and said he wants to reframe the strike as an “AMPTP work stoppage” rather than an actors’ and writers’ strike.
“I’d like to reframe this, not as a writers strike or an actors strike, but as an AMPTP work stoppage. If they came to the table with a fair deal, something that actually looked somewhat sustainable for people to make a career on, people would not be on the line.”