Striking Actors Rally

Wednesday, July 12th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Actors striking against the advertising industry rallied in dozens of cities Tuesday in the biggest public display since the labor dispute began nearly three months ago.

The protests targeted corporate offices of AT&T, one of the major firms that has made nonunion commercials during the walkout by the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. They also targeted stores selling AT&T products.

AT&T has ``aggressively pursued nonunion work. They still refuse to sign the interim agreement,'' said SAG spokesman Greg Krizman, referring to a pact that has allowed some advertisers to make union ads during the strike.

Rallies were held in cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Honolulu, Minneapolis, Orlando and Philadelphia. The largest demonstration, in Chicago, attracted up to 500 people, Krizman said.

In New York, about 200 protesters gathered on Wall Street to hear AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney, who lauded the ``spirit and solidarity of our movement.'' The actors' guilds are affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

The rally included representatives of the Communications Workers of America, which is sparring with AT&T over union attempts to organize workers in newer AT&T subsidiaries including AT&T Broadband.

A call to AT&T in New York seeking comment early Tuesday evening was not immediately returned.

The strike began May 1. In a bid to revive negotiations that stopped in April, federal mediators have scheduled informal talks with both sides July 20 in New York.

SAG and AFTRA, which represent about 135,000 actors, want to change the ad industry's compensation structure to give actors ``pay-per-play'' residuals for both network and cable TV commercials. Advertisers want to pay flat fees for both.

The advertising industry says ad production during the strike has remained steady with the use of nonunion performers.